For as long as I can remember, Little House on the Prairie has always been one of my favorite T.V. shows. Which, if you knew me, you would know how odd that is considering what a science fiction nerd I am. It’s true I can’t tell you the name of one single cast member of Glee but I can, however, list off Starfleet captains and the names of the ships they commanded. One of my dreams is to learn to speak Klingon (hey, don’t judge you never know when that may come in handy). And yet, when I flip through the channels I’m drawn to the 1880’s to spend an hour with the Ingalls’s family. I never knew why I liked the show until recently it hit me that it’s because of the strong family values; something this generation severely lacks.
In this one hour show I could see men who knew how to be men. They worked until their hands bled to support their family. Sun up to sun down, six days a week doing whatever was necessary to put food on the table. And no matter how tired they were, you could still see them taking their family to church early Sunday morning. They also knew how to treat and love their wives, how to treat them like the lady God created them to be. The women knew how to be women. They worked just as hard in their responsibilities. They knew how to be supportive to their husbands, to love and respect them. They were willing to do whatever they could to take some burden off of their spouse. Children were raised to have respect for their elders and for each other. And when the family came on hard times, the children’s first thought wasn’t about themselves; it was about how they could help. The family knew that when conflict reared his ugly head, they didn’t search for the nearest divorce attorney for a solution; they turned to the Word of God for answers. Neighbors loved one another, they helped each other; they might have been a small town but they were a big family. The one thing that always amazed me was no matter how little or how much they had, they knew how to be grateful and how to give thanks to God.
Now, I know that the show was fictionalized non-fiction and the real Ingalls family couldn’t have been perfect but I do believe it has been one of the closest representations of applying God’s plan for the family and the harmony that comes from letting Him run your house as well as your heart. God’s plan is not “old fashioned” or outdated. It was never meant to change with the times. We are the ones meant to change. His Word is constant yesterday, today and tomorrow. The breakdown in the family dynamic today is because we have removed Christ and replaced Him with chaos. Everyone is trying to do the other’s God given role instead of fulfilling their own role.
Truth is, it is not that hard to find husbands more concerned with their own desires than with the needs of the family. The Bible was clear on the role of the husband. In Ephesians 5:25-33 we can read that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Even in verse 23 God’s plan shows he is to be the head of his house. Men are to be the spiritual leaders in the home; making sure God’s will is being fulfilled. Families everywhere are crying for their men to lead! We also can find wives so consumed with asserting control over their husbands that they neglect the very roles they were designed for. In verse 22 of Ephesians, we know God wants wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. It seems to me that women get hung up on the word submit. I am a woman and a wife and submission is not to be enslaved by or to be a doormat to your husband it simply means to willingly follow your husband’s leadership in Christ. I’ve pointed out Matthew 26:39 before where Jesus, regardless of His own desires, knew the importance of submitting to the Father’s will. He knew His role, His place in God’s plan. I’ve said this before and will proudly say again that if Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, my Lord and Savior, can submit and know His place than I can know mine as well.
We can look deeper and find that even our children don’t know their place in the family. We see our kids trying all the time to assert authority in and out of the home; being outrageously disrespectful and parents, being so wrapped up in their own will, doing nothing about it. We know that in Exodus 20:12 it says to honor your father and mother and in Ephesians 6:1 it says children, obey your parents but how are they to know that? The Bible has an answer for that too. We teach them. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 it says we are to keep God’s word in our heart and repeat them again and again to our children. In Proverbs 22:6 God promises that if we direct our children on the right path, they won’t stray from it as adults.
So, if husbands lead, wives submit and children obey like the Bible says than the family should be a very cohesive unit, right? Well, in Little House’s time of the 1880’s, where God’s word was the foundation of most American families, the divorce rate was less than 5%. Today, it is more like 45-50%, so you tell me.
God’s plan is not a set of random ideas that He put forth just because He had nothing better. They are specific commands because He is our Heavenly Father. He created us and He knows our needs before we even have them. And if we follow His plan our needs will be fulfilled. We shouldn’t just accept our roles, we should rejoice in them! Know that whatever role He blessed you with is because that is where you can serve Him best. If His plan seems too “old fashioned” or too outdated for our fast advancing society than I say, we need to stop looking ahead to the stars and head back to the prairie.