Wherever ‘Little House on the Prairie’ went, we need to go back

What happened to “Little House on the Prairie”?

In the mid 1980s it was in the top 10 list of most watched programs. Today, it has been replaced in popularity by “Desperate Housewives.”

This is so symptomatic of our times. It seems we are focused to ensure everyone is special, no one is to blame, and when times get tough enough someone will be there to bail you out. Are these the qualities we want to embrace for our future?

Forget Wisteria Lane, Walnut Grove is looking better by the minute.

I proudly admit “Little House on the Prairie,” with “tear ducts Landon” as my father used to say, was and still is one of my favorite shows. I love it because it is a reminder of three basic things that we seem to have lost sight of these days: selfless love, accountability, and the rewards of hard work.

Personally I wish I could be more like Mrs. Ingalls.

That woman was as selfless as they came. She constantly sacrificed for the good of her family and her husband; no task was too daunting.

Yet the best part was that she did not see it as sacrifice. Everything was done out of love and the desire to make those she loved happy. She served her husband, her children and her community with dignity and respect, never expecting or requiring reciprocity. She knew how to love.

Nothing was taken for granted as a farming family in Walnut Grove. If hail knocked out your crop, there was no unemployment check waiting for you. If you were short on funds to pay the doctor, you relied on his kindness until you found a way to pay the bill, or you simply did not get the care. Guns in the home were respected as a means to hunt and defend, because in both you were on your own.

Sure, life was hard because there was no one to bail you out if you did not have the money, the food, or the wherewithal to get by. People got out of tough spots by relying on each other’s kindness and compassion.

But they certainly did not blame anyone or anything if relief did not come. That was just part of life, and death, in some cases.

Kids were expected to pull their weight in the household and work hard. They were an integral part of the family’s daily survival, and they knew it and took ownership of it. Family always came first — ahead of individual wants. Parents were respected because they demanded it. Kids sacrificed for the sake of their parents and their families, just as often as parents sacrificed for their kids.

I know we do not live in the 1880s anymore. They certainly had their challenges back then too. It is a different world, advanced in so many ways from the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder. But with all that we have achieved, our lives are no more satisfying, in fact arguably less so. Why? Can the human heart have changed that much?

I certainly do not know all the answers, but am convinced that what ails us cannot be fixed by legislation, and it cannot be fixed by taking from one and giving to another for the sake of “equality.”

There is no such thing as an “easy fix.” It has taken us generations to get to this point, and it seems ridiculous to think that by adding a few laws all will be well.

Instead, maybe we should start at the family level and embrace what really matters: love, accountability and hard work. We may be surprised how we improve as a society if we can somehow prioritize these simple things.

A lot of people thought “Little House on the Prairie” was a corny show when it was on TV years ago. However in light of how American society is evolving today, maybe more corny would do some good.

Beth Pullias

Peachtree City, Ga.

Bonkers's picture
Joined: 03/01/2010
Little House

Just about everyone liked that show for one thing or another. Could have been Little Joe's fiddle playing, Ma Ingalls cooking, (by the way she now sells walk in bath tubs on commercials on TV), or the way they raised funds for the school house and teacher the reverend, or how credit for seeds and such was given until crops harvested---meantime store purchases were on credit, so when the crops came in and the store paid for the credit----it was borrow again for seeds, etc. Wonderful way of life, somewhat like coal miners and company stores!

As to the sacrificing done by the wife, actually there wasn't any choice. It was not unusual in those days for the man to leave home to find work for some cash money while the family sewed and milked.

You seem to not want "legislation" now. Frankly I don't know how we could have survived at all without it. We have 315,000,000 population now as opposed to what in the 1800s? a few million and some Indians?

As to taking from one and giving to another, I think that is the way they survived then also. It all depends upon how much is taken and how much is given by the government. Anyway "barter" was prevalent then : when one was out of something, the other swapped something they didn't need for what they did.
Can you imagine that now without legislation?

stephencorbett's picture
Joined: 03/31/2010
Amen, nuf said.

Amen, nuf said.

dawn69's picture
Joined: 02/24/2008
Little House on the Prairie

It's my favorite show too! The Hallmark channel runs the show everyday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Growing up we used to watch Little House every week - Little House, Eight is Enough, and The Waltons (my other favorite - I always wanted to be a writer like John Boy). Seems like there was another show that only ran for a year or two - How the West was Won - that we also enjoyed watching. Bottom line is that growing up then, we had many family shows to enjoy. There are no such shows these days - none that I would watch with my children.

In fact, if you watch the crap shows that are available for kids on The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, you'll notice that more often than not the "grown ups" (parents, store owners, teachers, etc.) are portrayed as COMPLETE IDIOTS. It sends the wrong message to kids that generally tend to think they're smarter than us anyway.

doright's picture
Joined: 07/14/2008
Bring Back LHP

Bring back LIttle House on the Prairie! And with it PLEASE bring back the society we once had were our Founding Father's were heros not villians and Free Market Capitalism reigned and Socialism was evil.

It seems we are living in an upside down world. We need a little Pa and Laura Ingles to remind us of all things true and good.

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