Brett Buckner: Life lessons from the prairie
Mar 03, 2013 | 1932 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A parent’s responsibility is to perpetually nudge — and occasionally outright shove — their children in the right direction. Whether it’s eating more vegetables or not dating meth heads, children need guidance to ensure they make wise decisions and follow life’s righteous path.

And since Jellybean loves broccoli and is already betrothed to a toe-headed boy in her daycare, that pretty much leaves one sphere of influence, one realm of healthy living into which she must be steered:

“Little House on the Prairie.”

So we’ve graduated from SuperFudge to the beloved “Little House on the Prairie” series for our nighttime reading. And already it’s gotten her attention. During the part where Pa had slaughtered a hog and Pa blew up its intestines so the girls could use it as a ball.

“That’s gross,” Jellybean said. “Why didn’t they just go to Target?” And thus a lesson was learned — life wasn’t always so convenient and people had to make the best of what they could find … even if that meant gnawing the meat off a pig’s tail.

I’ve had a long-standing love for all things Half-Pint and have learned a great many valuable lessons along the way. At the risk of being blasphemous, these lessons came via the TV show. When it came to reading my tastes ran more along the lines of “Where the Red Fern Grows.”

And yes I know the book and the TV show are different, but the lessons are still valid.

• Don’t Smoke — The one where Albert burns down the blind school and kills Mary’s baby.

• Be Careful What You Wish For — The one where Laura thinks she’s to blame for Charles Jr. dying and runs off to the mountains where she lives with Ernest Borgnine, who she thinks is God.

• Communication in Marriage is Key — The one where Nells gets fed up with Harriet and packs up stuff from the mercantile into a wagon to sell “on the road,” then falls in love with an Irish widower.

• Don’t Take the Bible so Literally — The one where Caroline is home alone and scratches her leg on a fence, the cut gets infected and in her fevered madness she starts reading the Bible, focusing on the part about “If thy right hand offends thee CUT IT OFF,” (emphasis mine) all while sterilizing a huge butcher knife in the fire as she obviously plans to amputate her leg.

• Listen to the Children — The one where Tinker and the school children worked together, cobbling their toys and stuff together, to melt and create a church bell to stop the grownups from squabbling over who’s going to buy a new church bell.

• If It’s too Good to be True, It Probably Is — The one where the people of Walnut Grove buy up all the cheap grain only to get The Plague because it’s infested with rats.

• How to Handle Bullies (with your fists) — the one where two men and a boy move into town and the boy bullies all the girls in school while the two men take advantage of the kindness of the townsfolk. This episode has that awesome part where the boy gets beat up by the girls during recess and Rev. Alden shoves one of the men against the wall during a church service.

And those are just the ones off the top of my head. I expect the books will have completely new and varied lessons but I bet one stands out the most.

Pa is always right.

Contact Brett Buckner at brettbuckner@ymail.com.
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