Since Christmas, our family’s been on a bit of a “Little House on the Prairie” kick.
I have to say . . . I forgot how much I loved this series as a little girl. It’s the first time we’ve ever found something we can all watch and actually enjoy! Each episode deals with some kind of teachable topic that’s applicable to modern-day life and my children are learning about living back in the days of unpaved streets and one-room school houses.
“Did they have technology tickets back then?” a serious four year old asks in the most concerned of voices. He’s referring to the three tickets he gets each day to use technology.
The thought of being without them is more than he can fathom.
When I told him they really didn’t have any technology back then, he looked at me like I’d just suggested Superman was going to fly through our door any minute and take us on a cruise.
Yep, it’s been good for our family to get a little dose of reality.
One thing my daughter noticed? They had mean girls even back then.
Cue the scary music . . . Nellie. Oleson.
Yet watching this series now as an adult combined with the fact I’m also now a mother has opened my eyes to some new information about Nellie: she didn’t become a mean girl by accident.
Big mean girls can raise little mean girls. Then those little mean girls grow up into big mean girls and raise their own little mean girls and it just keeps going, and going, and going.
This started out as one post but then it got to be over 1,000 words so now it’s become a two-part series. So let’s take a look at the first three lessons we can learn from Little House’s Mrs. Oleson and we’ll discuss the other three on Thursday:
1. Don’t publicly criticize your husband or contradict a decision he’s made in front of others. We’ve seen her do this so many times and I wish I could remember specific episodes but suffice it to say, she was horrible with this. In fact, so many times, Jason and I watched with our mouths agape as she completely disrespected and overruled her husband’s opinions and wishes. To add insult to injury, this was often done in front of an audience which just makes it even worse. I’m sure if Nels had a tail, it would be between his legs, his head bowed in shame.
This is one big fat marriage party foul, Harriet—trust me. And no, this doesn’t mean you can’t ever disagree with your husband but whatever you do . . . Don’t do it in a way that’s horribly humiliating or in front of other people. Unless you want him to despise you. If that’s the case, this is a good way to do it.
2. Don’t overrule your husband’s decisions when it comes to your children. Yikes. This never, ever, EVER goes well. There was one episode in which Nels Oleson was disciplining Nellie and Harriet said, “Stop being so mean to her, Nels!” She then turns to Nellie and shares that her father is just being a bully.
Seriously? So now she’s taught Nellie that her father has no authority and she can do no wrong. It’s no wonder Nellie behaved the way she did, eh?
We are going to disagree with our husbands’ discipline style once in a while just as they will occasionally disagree with our methods, too. A few years ago, a counselor pointed out that our sweet middle child was pitting Jason and I against one another and we didn’t even realize it was happening. He was four.
Kids can get in between a marriage and it ain’t too pretty when they do.
3. Don’t treat others based upon how he or she looks. I know of an heiress who appears as if she never showers. She lives in filth and her home is overtaken by rescued dogs. She’s a multimillionaire that can afford to purchase anything she wants. Yet so often, she would walk into a store and not one salesclerk would greet her—that is, until others began to figure out who she was. And then . . . they laid it on thick. This is straight from the book of Mrs. Oleson—she was downright snooty if you didn’t look like you could afford anything at Oleson’s Mercantile. She continuously steered Mrs. Ingalls towards items that were less-expensive since of course, she couldn’t afford much.
Turns out, the old phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” more than just cliche.
Are you a Little House fan? What lessons do you think we could learn from Mrs. Oleson?
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I love this! My nine year old has been so into the Little House lately. I dvr it daily. It’s a safe way for him to identify with violence. I know that sounds strange, but he gets his “westernish gun fix” by seeing Mr. Larabie cheat the towns people by accepting a deal lower than they’d agreed upon, just so he could sell his crop. He likes when the blind school gets broken into, when Bartholomew is being a bully, he likes when Charles gets into a fist fight, but over all he gets the message behind it. We love to see Mrs. Oleson and Nellie, later Nancy too!
We love LHOTP and learn so much from Harriet. You can always learn something from everyone…even the negative people in our lives! :)
Very true. Harriet had her good points, too, sometimes. Nellie was a bit of a bully-and sometimes downright mean. We’ve all known people like that, in and out of school. Willie was basically a nice little boy. He grew up to be more like Mr. Oleson. I do think he spent far too much time in the corner, though.
Thanks! I LOVE LHOTP!! I own most of the seasons. WE love them!!!
As for your comments, I really struggle with #2- in fact right this very minute would like to do just that. Thanks for the god-instance. I won’t.
Great post, Natalie! I haven’t watched Little House in ages but I used to love it. It always amazed me that Willie turned into a pretty decent guy .. and as I recall Nellie even takes a turn for the better. Poor Harriet is a lost cause and Nels? The man deserves sainthood!
I love this show-always have and always will. It’s a great way for children-and adults-to learn important moral lessons. I love the setting, in the country.
I love so much Mrs Olson. We learn of her so much because she show how we don’t have to be with others. RIP. Greetings from Chile.