I recently read the unabridged version of Little Women. Of course, I read some version of this classic as a girl, as has every other American girl who has ever lived, I suppose. And, I have seen a sampling of movies depicting this beautiful story. Ah, but to read it as an adult, and as a mother! It is so different and all the more wonderful!
It is my understanding that Louisa May Alcott was never married and never had children of her own, but it is clear from this somewhat autobiographical story that she had the most excellent of examples of parenthood and family life modeled to her in her growing up. I was awed and inspired and challenged by Mrs. March's mothering of her blossoming daughters. I loved how she let each child make her own way, but how she was always there, loving and caring and ever-so-carefully steering her girls in the right direction. She was a woman who truly understood the unique position the Lord had given her within her family. She worked hard, she carried her burdens gracefully, she managed her household firmly but gently, she respected her husband, and most importantly, she recognized her inability to do any of this on her own. She pointed her children always to the Lord and encouraged them to seek His counsel even above hers. My heart was stirred within me as I read of Mrs. March's interactions with her girls, and as I really began to understand the character behind the character. This is the kind of mother I want to be.
Moms, I want to encourage you to read (or re-read) this book, if you get the chance. Yes, it is a coming-of-age story and a wonderful read for any young lady who is beginning to make her way in the the world. But, it is also an amazing and inspiring parenting resource.
I will leave you with just one of Mrs. March's golden nuggets of wisdom:
"My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, hopes, sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidently as you come to your mother."