Pioneer Culture: Working Hard

By Holly Giles | Family

pioneer culture working hard to teach work ethic

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Pioneer Culture: Working Hard

The second post in our series, Pioneer Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, is about working hard. What did working hard mean 100 years ago and how can we compare that to today?

Every job is good if you do your best and work hard.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Think back to the “Little House” books and what Laura described in them. There was no getting around working every day at the Ingalls’ house, was there? Every meal was work. From growing or sourcing ingredients to preparing the food to doing the dishes! Almost everything they needed to survive came from their sweat and hard work. And Laura grew up in that kind of environment.

She and her siblings understood that everything in their lives required someone to work hard, often themselves. And you know what? We’ve forgotten that teaching a solid work ethic from a young age builds character and appreciation.

Every job is good if you do your best and work hard

Building a strong work ethic

Today, we tend to try to hand everything to our children, we want more for them than we had, but I think it is doing them a great disservice.

Start young with chores and build on home responsibilities. This will give children a sense of belonging, a place in the family that is needed and essential.

Now, I’m not talking about making them do everything. No, no, no. But I AM talking about involving your kids in everyday things, especially age-appropriate chores. As a mom, you’re always working, right? I mentioned laundry and cooking earlier.

Those are two straightforward things that you’re already going to be doing in your life, so they’re the perfect opportunity to bring your kids alongside you and let them help you wash vegetables, fold the laundry, sweep the floor, package the leftovers, pick up school books and toys, etc.

Work and home

Back in Laura’s day, children were an integral part of work at home. School and chores were of equal value. Sometimes, the school had to wait for the harvest.

However, today, schooling takes all of the kids’ time. So they don’t learn work like caring for a home. Therefore, we need to include our kids in those types of things today intentionally.

Some examples of things to learn as they grow older are: Knowing how to fix a toilet flapper, unlock a garbage disposal, keep the air conditioning drain pipe clear, or unstop a float valve before your a/c quits working, all learning to care for a home.

You can include your kids alongside you on these projects, and you will eventually pick up on things they really enjoy learning.

Now, if YOU haven’t learned those fixes yet, watch a repairman, ask questions and make sure your kids are watching too, and of course, there is Youtube!



About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.