So on Tuesday, we started a two-part series of discussing what we can learn from Mrs. Oleson of “Little House on the Prairie” but it got to be too long so it became a two-part series.
And so our lessons continue . . .
4. Don’t compare your children to other children. Goodness. Poor Mrs. Oleson was a prisoner to appearances. She also wanted her children to be the best in everything and was downright cruel to those who got in her way. Poor Laura Ingalls had the nerve to challenge Nellie and was pretty much permanently on Mrs. Oleson’s you-know-what list. Our kids can pick-up on when we want them to do something for our pride’s sake versus for the sake of their own good. When we do this, we churn-out performance-based children and performance-based children can be quite unkind at times. They’ve been taught that love from their parents is contingent upon their achievement and they’ll get downright vicious to win that temporary approval. Comparing our children to other children also shakes a developing confidence because we communicate that they’re not as good as whoever we’re comparing them to.
5. Don’t think you always know the right answer. Mrs. Oleson thinks her way is the right way–always. I know I’ve been guilty of participating in an argument in the past just because I want to be “right.” But you know what that’s about? Yes. Pride. We don’t want to admit that maybe we don’t know everything. We have trouble humbling ourselves or exposing vulnerabilities so we hide behind the mask of always being in control and having it all together because then we can hide those soft spots that make us human.
6. Don’t be against every woman you meet. Mrs. Oleson didn’t seem to have a lot of girlfriends, did she? Instead of showing kindness to a female newcomer such as Caroline Ingalls, she assumed a rivalry-type of relationship rather than a friendship. Here’s the thing: we women need each other. Big time. Supporting and loving one another is a change in the culture of women that won’t be done until we learn to embrace one another for the individual God’s created us to be. Not against each other, but for each other.
You know, as much as I hate to admit this . . . I think we all might have a bit of Mrs. Oleson in us when we forget whose we are. The thing about poor Harriet is that she is simply one really broken woman who has allowed her own misguided identity to take over the source of her roots. Nothing good ever comes from this because when sin infests our roots, the fruit we bear is rotten.
Mrs. Oleson’s fruit was pretty rotten. In so many ways.
Yet there are many modern-day Mrs. Olesons’ that walk this earth today–how do we reach them?
Though it may not sound like fun, we reach them by examining our own inner Mrs. Oleson. By authentically and humbly looking at ourselves and asking God to reveal our own sin before we start pointing out the sin of others (another thing Mrs. O was good at doing.) By slowing down and listening to hurting hearts that come across as negative. Vindictive. Cruel.
And yes, boundaries are super important if the going gets tough. But extending the olive branch or simply showing a bit of kindness to those like Mrs. Oleson can start a revolution of compassion.
Who doesn’t want that?
What lessons have YOU learned from Mrs. Oleson during the past two posts or any other time?