My grandma was a product of the Great Depression. Learning to survive during those years of economic downturn truly affected how she lived the rest of her life. I can now understand why she hoarded random containers, and refused to let anything go to waste. Living to survive meant working hard, being frugal, and looking out for each other.
When the economy took a nosedive in the 1930’s, I’m curious how prepared those families were to survive. By nature, life was still significantly less than what we would define as convenient. Even though the roaring 20’s brought a boom of manufacturing, radio, and railways, a lot of rural America was still living without electricity and indoor plumbing.
As decades have passed, technology and society have evolved, and many of us find ourselves raising our kids in a time of abundance.
We can afford to buy clothes when we need them or call the repairman if an appliance isn’t working. We have enough food from the grocery store to keep our refrigerator full and a health-care system for when we are sick. We can afford to avoid asking for our neighbor’s help. We can entertain ourselves rather than needing a face to face conversation.
We are far from surviving, I guess you could say we are thriving.
Or are we?
Are we getting too far away from the earth and the One who waters it, to sustain ourselves and our loved ones?
Will our children know how to make clothes last a long time, by sewing, mending, and making alterations?
Will they be willing to take humble jobs to provide for their families?
Will they have the knowledge to grow a garden and keep themselves fed?
Will they know how to cook from scratch, on a low-budget, and with the food they were able to produce at home?
Will they have the discipline to spend their money wisely?
Will they have tender hearts to help family and neighbors support each other with food, resources, and money.
Would they be selfless enough to give their portion to feed their own kids?
Will they have a general knowledge of home remedies for common illnesses?
Will they understand that hard work means food on the table and a roof over your head?
Will they have a basic knowledge of edible berries, nuts, and plants?
Will they know how to cast a line or go hunting?
Will they know how to preserve food by canning and storing?
Will they know how to be creative and resourceful with what they have?
Will they push through their problems to find answers?
Will they be humble enough to ask for help?
I realize these questions are a bit old-fashioned, because we are where we are, and wrapping a gingham apron around my waist,or making my own soap won’t change that.
Progress, technology, and advancement are a part of our lives. However, I think there is merit in keeping one foot toward progress, and one foot firmly planted on the grassy earth.
Our food still grows from the same rain and sunshine that God pours down, and our hearts are still fulfilled by thankfulness toward God, and relationships with people.
As I raise my kids in this season of abundance, my prayer is that I not only teach them the new way, but also show them the path worn by my parents, and their parents, and their parents… That dirt, face-to-face relationships, hand-picked berries, and frugality are not just a thing of the past, but rather a foundation on which to build their future … in plenty, OR in poverty.