Life Lessons from Ma & Pa Ingalls

Life Lessons from Ma & Pa Ingalls on
A collage of photos including an old cabin with a snowy background and a picture of the front cover of, "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Life Lessons from Ma and Pa Ingalls in The Long Winter

Most of us read the Little House on the Prairie Series when we were children, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading them as an adult, I highly recommend doing so. They’re chocked full of wisdom and give a fascinating glimpse into the life of the American pioneer.

The Long Winter was especially fascinating to me as they had to endure seven months of blizzards with no supplies coming. The town was caught unprepared for such a long, relentless winter, but they came together and did what they had to do in order to survive.

We’re incredibly spoiled and blessed in our modern lives. Most of us wouldn’t have a clue how to survive a winter such as the Ingalls had to endure.

Even though most modern people have gone soft, so to speak, the human spirit is still the same and I know in hard times people would still come together and do what it takes to survive.

Most of us know that we’ve lost quite a bit of knowledge and skill through the years, but can you believe that ma and pa thought that things were too progressive, even back then?? Check out the quote below to see what I mean.

“If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light,” Ma considered. “We didn’t lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of.”

“That’s so,” said Pa. “These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves- they’re good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on ’em.”

Its crazy that they thought kerosene and coal were too progressive. I mean what would they think of our culture today? Would they consider us fools for depending basically 100% on everyone else for our livelihood? I’m sure they would be quite shocked at our lack of basic knowledge in survival.

Are you prepared to survive without electricity, running water, and the grocery store? It kind of chills me to think of what would happen if we all had to fend for ourselves in this country all of a sudden.

I know people would pull through as best as they could, but we would most definitely be at a disadvantage because we depend entirely too much on others to keep us alive.

Our ancestors had to deal with lots of obstacles, grief, and heartache. In the Little House Series it seems like they suffered one loss and setback after another, but their fighting spirit and unbreakable endurance kept them going. This quote from Little Town on the Prairie has stayed with me and is still quite true today:

“The prairie looks so beautiful and gentle,” she said. “But I wonder what it will do next. Seems like we have to fight it all the time.”

“This earthly life is a battle,” said Ma. “If it isn’t one thing to contend with, it’s another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures. Now Mary, I’m ready to fit the bodice.”

I mean could there be any more relevant advice than that? We all have troubles in this world and we always will, so it’s better to accept them and be thankful for your blessings. Amen Mrs. Ingalls.

I think we would all do well to take this advice to heart and learn to be thankful for what we have and learn to accept our hardships as part of life and deal with them the best way that we know how.

These two quotes are only the beginning of wisdom and life lessons that can be learned through The Little House Series and I hope you will take the time to read them to your kids or even just to yourself and see what you can learn through looking to the past.

Have you read The Little House Series lately? If so, what wisdom have you found in them?

Check out these resources to learn more about The Ingalls Family:

Do you want more information about old-fashioned living? Here are a few resources:

This post was originally posted in June 2011, but has been updated and revised for your convenience.

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    1. That's awesome! I've never tried it before, but I just ordered the Little House Cookbook so maybe the recipe will be in it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
  1. I love this! Awesome post!!!! I know a woman who reads The Long Winter every December b/c she says "we" have it too easy, and she needs to remember these trials that the Ingalls lived through. Imagine, living a life so well that we have to read about someone else's trials. (Not that my friend doesn't have trials.) I'm just saying, she recognizes how our burdens today are so much different. BTW, I read the entire 9-book series to my kids all last year for our school year. Suddenly, in my heart, I long to read them as an adult (like, now!), so I am going to do it this summer, all to myself, b/c I think there is a lot more to gain from these books the second time around and when we read them for ourselves. I cannot wait!
  2. I read the little house books as an adult (when I was a little girl not all the books were available). I did and do love the books and I sure want to be just like pa and ma Ingalls! All books are on my bookshelves and when ever I need some encouragement I read a chapter!
  3. I recently read Farmer Boy to my kids. I was convicted about how lazy I am after reading how much his mom did every day year-round.

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