Looking to the past can teach us a great deal about the future. Check out these 8 Life Lessons Learned from the Great Depression and see if you need to apply any of them to your own modern life!
Lessons Learned from the Great Depression
I was originally going to share money-saving tips from the Great Depression, but when I mentioned that to my 90-year-old grandpa he laughed and said, “What money?”, so I switched gears and have come up with something a little bit different that I really think you will enjoy just as much.
But first, if old-fashioned money saving tips interest you, then you will want to check out 7 Frugal Cooking Tips from the Great Depression and if you’re still interested in learning about old time money saving tips, then you can check out my post 30 Old Fashioned Frugal Tips from Grandma or scroll my Frugal Living archives for tons of related content.
As mentioned earlier, I sat down with my grandpa to discuss life during the Great Depression. He was number three of nine children and grew up on an 80 acre farm in Arkansas. He told me that life was full of hard work, but also strong community.
He said that people were closer than they are today. I think that is probably true since hard times tend to bring people closer together out of necessity and they didn’t have as much technology to isolate themselves like we do today.
Anyway, A strong community is a great thing and so I wondered what other positive qualities people had to have in order to survive and maybe even thrive during the Great Depression. So here is a list that I came up with of Lessons Learned from the Great Depression. I hope this post inspires you to think about how you can apply these lessons to your own life.
Frugality is simply not letting yourself spend that which is not necessary. Obviously, during the depression money was scarce so frugality was the only option, but having this quality probably helped people get through the hard times with a grateful heart.
If more people adopted this quality in their lives today then they would be a lot better off and you can bet that teaching frugality to the next generation would save them from a world of bad financial decisions. If you need some frugal living inspiration in your life, be sure to check out the links below that are chocked full of frugal tips and tricks.
Resourcefulness is the wise use of the material possessions that we have been given, even that which others may overlook. You can bet that everyone was resourceful during the depression because they knew that their resources were limited. This character quality would be a breath of fresh air in our throw away society today. Check out the links below for more tips on how to be more resourceful.
Industriousness is having a firmness of purpose with constant diligence and attention. Basically, a person who is industrious lives with a purpose in mind and sets his mind to accomplish it. It’s a person who is almost always busy learning, creating or working on something. This was of great importance during the depression because it took a lot of energy and industriousness just to survive.
Endurance means having the strength and focus to keep pushing forward. This was a crucial quality to have during the depression. People didn’t know when things would get better, but they probably tried their best to push forward toward what the future might bring. There is a lot to be said about someone who keeps working day after day and doesn’t give up easily.
When creativity and resourcefulness come together great things happen. Knowing how to fill a need with minimal resources takes great creativity and I think people were probably forced to practice this skill during the Great Depression. This is a skill that the current generation is lacking because we have everything we need all the time and I feel that it is a great disadvantage to us. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. I believe we were made to create more than we consume. Check out my post 20 Ideas to Produce More and Consume Less for more inspiration.
When someone is determined you had better watch out because they will probably reach their goals with great gusto! I can’t imagine how parents during the depression were probably determined to feed their families and keep their homes full of hope instead of despair. This was probably a hard quality to maintain, but the ones that tried to practice it were blessed in the long run. Have you been determined to do something hard lately?
When hard times come, things are bound to change and those who embrace the change will flourish. Flexibility was probably key during the depression because husbands were out trying to find work and didn’t know where they would end up. I think being willing to try something new when you need to is a key survival skill that many people used during the Great Depression.
Being grateful and content is probably one of the most important keys to happiness during the depression. Those who focused on what they had and how blessed they were probably had more opportunities come to them than those who complained and moped around because they didn’t have something. Again, maintaining this quality was probably a struggle, but worth it in the end!
The Great Depression was a time of need and scarcity, but I believe many families flourished because they worked hard and were grateful for what they had and didn’t focus on material possessions. People didn’t have much in the way of material things, but they had things that money couldn’t buy like peace, love and joy.
Thinking about the Great Depression makes you realize that the most important things in life are not money or material possessions, but relationships and memories. How much are we missing out on today because we are so distracted by our possessions? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!