So We Don’t Have to Work

“Almanzo asked Father why he did not hire the machine that did threshing.  Three men had brought it into the country last fall, and Father had gone to see it.  It would thresh a man’s whole grain crop in a couple of days.

‘That’s a lazy man’s way to thresh,’ Father said.  ‘Haste makes waste, but a lazy man’d rather get his work done fast than do it himself. That machine chews up all the straw till it’s not fit to feed stock, and it scatters grain around and wastes it.

‘ All it saves is time son.  And what good is time, with nothing to do?  You want to sit and twiddle your thumbs, all these stormy winter days?”

– Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, pages 307/308

After reading the book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder recently, I came away with a renewed realization of the work ethic from her time (late 1800’s).  In my world, I have many labour-saving devices and luxuries right at my fingertips – literally!  Right at this moment I hear the click of the laptop’s keyboard; without computers schoolwork would take much longer.  Phones allow us to call our friends at any given moment – today it is a common piece of household furniture; in their time, you were envied to have such a comfort, if you knew what it actually was.  Food processors, mobile phones, fridges, freezers, microwaves, the TV, and ATM’s are all part of our zooming, moving world, and yet, thousands of people, the ancestors of our families and our countries, lived and thrived without these comforts.

Today, are we so focused on saving time so we don’t have to work that we don’t want to work?  In Almanzo’s time (the main character in Farmer Boy), his father taught him that work is healthy and good, and is, as a farmer, what you do.  Working is how you spend your days, from before sunup until after sundown.  A man or woman who puts in a hard and full days’ work has nothing to be ashamed of.

I want to be a person who is diligent, responsible and has a hard work ethic; willing to get my hands dirty and get tired from working.  God intended us to fill our days with work (Genesis 2:15).  Are we running away from it?


7 thoughts on “So We Don’t Have to Work

  1. What a terrific post! I couldn’t agree more. I personally love this book you’ve mentioned, along with all of the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder and part of the appeal is their attitude toward work. It WAS what you did! Not always pleasant but a necessary part of life. You just did it. That is what I try to teach my kids (I’m a homeschool Mom of 3 in Oregon, U.S.A.) When they grumble, I tell them that they don’t have to like it, it just needs to be done. Then I talk about how much better it is to approach work with a good attitude – makes things easier, usually! I have read all of Laura’s books to my children several times over the years and we always learn from them. I began reading the “Little House” books myself when I was nine and I am certain that Laura has been an influence on my life for the past 37 years!

    Thanks for sharing this. May God bless you and continue to give you guidance and wisdom.


    P.S. I have also enjoyed and learned a lot from your Mom’s emails. Now I see there are two great writers in your family!

  2. I am the sort of person who will spend ages trying to find an easier way to do something rather than just do it! It always seems logical when I do it, but afterwards i often wonder why i didn’t just get on and do the job.
    Good reminder to keep focused.

  3. I love the Little House books! You are so right…we have all these things to save time and we still don’t have enough time!

    We girls laughed and laughed about your dream : D That was so funny! I know what you mean about dreams…the other night I had one that I was trying to take a goat by the collar to the barn, and I suddenly was paralyzed and couldn’t move! : D



  4. dear Jess, that is wonderful. We just had finished farmer boy too! I thought that was so neat when I saw that you were studying farmer boy also. bye

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