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The kids and I have been reading the Little House series for the past few months. I can’t believe I never read these wonderful stories as a child! We’ve learned about maple sugar and sugar snow from “Little House in the Big Woods,” cornmeal mush in several of the books, and the importance of not depending too much on newfangled items in “The Long Winter” (so we dipped candles).

A couple of things keep standing out to me as I read these stories. First, Ma was a woman of consistency. She had her routines in the home and stuck with them. Because of this, her home was tidy and orderly. The girls quickly and naturally learned the order of the home during their childhoods. The children didn’t question helping in the home, it was expected and necessary. Ma couldn’t finish all the tasks by herself.

The importance of politeness and consideration at home as well as in public also struck me. Private and public behavior was the same in the Ingalls’ home. Ma kept her temper and ensured that others did too. Laura was shocked when one summer she worked for another family that often spoke in harsh tones and shouts.

I noticed these because I struggle with them often. Keeping my tone in check and being consistent in all areas of my life seem to give me the most grief. I’ll do well for months and feel like these habits are now mine. Then one day off sends me into a tailspin.  Jessie and I were talking about habits and how to tell the difference between a good on and a bad one. He had heard or read somewhere that a good habit is hard to develop and easy to break; a bad habit is easy to develop and hard to break.

I realized a need to become a modern day Ma Ingalls so that my family can have a good example to follow. I don’t want my children to have to figure out the runnings of a home when they settle down.