The Homesteaders’ Spirit

As part of our homeschooling, it’s my intention to share great literature with my children; to give them a broad, Christian worldview, and to feed their imaginations with wholesome stories of virtue and faith.

We read an abridged illustrated version of The Swiss Family Robinson and it ended up being such a favorite, we decided to read another unabridged version illustrated by Lynd Ward.*

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss, Edited by William H. G. Kingston

I can’t help but be enthralled with the story. The centrality of and reliance upon God, the courage, bondedness, and fortitude of the family, the adventure of survival… It’s a phenominal book.

By finding corresponding coloring pages, I’ve been able to keep all of the kids engaged in the adventure aspect of the story. But the thing that most strikes me is the vast knowledge and skill sets possessed by the family. Wow! For a family of 6 to go from shipwrecked to colonized in a matter of months is beyond impressive. Their ability to use what was salvaged from the wreck, to make new tools from available materials, and to tame and domesticate animals for their own use is the crux of the homesteader spirit!

Isn’t that why we all do what we do? We raise livestock, we grow food, we hunt, we gather, we forage, we craft, we build, we teach all so we can support and sustain our families and communities. There is something to be said, especially in these times, for the knowledge of animal husbandry, fiber arts, and gardening skills and fine craftsmanship. If there’s any one thing I want to impart to my children, it is first and foremost that I serve a risen and living Savior. Secondary to that are all the life skills required for building and sustaining a family.

I think that is what is so ironic- each of us has some skillset or interest that is valuable to our families and to society at large. But the grace of God is required as we learn and hone those skills and abilities to His glory. Apart from God, we are nothing! I’m in the thick of it, still learning, still imperfectly struggling along. If the Swiss Family Robinson had not had faith in God, they would have resigned themselves to fear and given in to dismay at their abandonment on the shipwreck. The end. Riveting stuff.

But when the motivation of all we do is the glory of God and the hope of eternity with Him, we can dig deep in difficult circumstances and find the strength and encouragement to keep going, knowing that in giving God the praise and glory for our successes stores up treasure in HEAVEN.

This post may be cheesy, cliche, and emotional, but it also may be just what we need to remember when we’re feeling stuck- take courage, press on, and to God be the glory!

*Wyss, Johann David, et al. The Swiss Family Robinson. Grosset & Dunlap, 2004.

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