Thursday, October 15, 2009

Turning to the Past for Help with Mothering

Being the mother of 3 is always busy, often amusing, and sometimes frustrating. I'm always open to new parenting ideas, and I always do my very best in raising my children in love. Reading through the stories and journals of my ancestors is one of my best ways of finding good parenting advice. My great-great-grandmother Persis Josephine Laird Kimber (Josie) was a great woman who used her abundant humor in her child-raising efforts.

Josie married a widower with nine children. Instant big family. She then went on to have 12 more children of her own. Anyone who can raise 21 children is a parent to be listened to!

One night, 2 of Josie's sons, Jim and Oren, were out very late. As punishment, Josie sliced raw potatoes into their bed. Of course they thought it was their sister Elsie. It was a great way to generate some fun and laughter while still driving the point home.

Another night her daughters Elsie and Fern were up late giggling upstairs, and keeping Josie awake. Suddenly they heard a chord on the organ. Just one chord. They stopped giggling and laid very still to listen. No other chord was played. Josie had got out of bed and played just that one chord and then went back to bed. It quieted the girls and Josie finally got some sleep.

Josie was also quite a crafter. She made homemade quilts from strips of cloth pieced together. She made homemade rugs by either crocheting sewed strips of cloth together or weaving the strips of cloth on a wooden frame. Every year she canned fruits and vegetables. She cooked big (not fancy) meals and always had cookies waiting for visitors, of whom there were plenty. She made her work into a pleasure.

Josie was also a very protective parent. She had beautiful red hair, which she passed on to her daughter Mary. When Mary was a baby, the Indians around Grouse Creek came and saw her hair. In sign language, they told Josie, "We want her." After they left, Josie put flat irons in all the windows as her own sign that they would get a flat iron over the head if they tried to break in and take little Mary.

Josie and her husband Charles were very charitable people, too. Each year they would fill up a room with bags of flour to share with many, many people. Their children could recall waking in the early morning hours to Charlie coming up the stairs to get a sack of flour or sugar to give to someone in need. Their family knew that they couldn't let anyone they knew go without, if they could help it. Josie once told Charles of a sister who only had one pair of garments. Charles told her, "Oh you had better see to it that she gets some garments. You send for them tomorrow." Another neighbor gave birth to a baby but had no layette. Josie went to the town people and soon the baby had all it needed.

My blog is entitled Daily Endurance. Josie is a great example to me of enduring to the end.

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