There are several YouTube channels I like to watch on a regular basis. Some are about artsy craftsy stuff. Others are about quilting. And some fall into the category of homesteading. They include everything from gardening to raising small livestock to food preservation to frugal living and a self-sustaining lifestyle.
One of my favorites is called 'Deep South Homestead' and is done by a couple living in southern Mississippi. I have learned much from watching their videos. At present they are doing a series about financial freedom. Unlike many videos with similar topics, they do not give tips on money management, but rather show how experiences from childhood and beyond can influence the way an adult manages their finances to be debt free.
As I watched their video this morning, it got me to thinking about how the way I was raised was similar in many ways to the things they spoke of and how different things were then from the way they are today.
As a child, the rule was that nobody played until the work was done. That meant that at suppertime, the table was properly set and the family sat down together for the meal. After supper the dishes were cleared, washed, dried and put away. Only then were we free to relax and pursue whatever was of interest to us.
I was 15 years old before our family had a television. Before that, we listened to the serial programs on the radio like Dragnet or Abbot and Costello or Amos 'n Andy. Sometimes we could get musical shows, mostly country or western, my Dad's favorites. Whether it was radio or television, mother believed it was a sin to just sit and watch or listen, so I always was doing something at those times. Maybe it was knitting a scarf or hemming a skirt or embroidering a dish towel, but my hands were never idle. I have continued along those lines to this day.
If a person kept animals of any kind, their needs came first. No matter if it was raining or if there was a blizzard raging, the animals had to be fed, watered and their living areas had to be kept clean. Only when these tasks were accomplished could a person even think about their own needs.
Gardens were more than just a hobby. The produce grown was essential to keeping the family fed over the winter months and until the garden of the following year began producing. Early mornings would find us weeding. That was also the time of day when vegetables were picked, cleaned and made ready for either freezing or canning. When the vegetables were in the freezer or in jars cooling on the counter, then and only then were we free to do what we wanted to do.
Saturday mornings were not for watching cartoons, but were for cleaning the house 'just in case we get company.' Wooden and tile floors were scrubbed, rugs were vacuumed, bed linens were changed, furniture was dusted and bathrooms were made to sparkle. After that there were cakes or cookies to bake to make sure there were treats to go with coffee should any neighbor or relative drop by.
Another thing we were taught that I find sadly lacking today were manners. It didn't matter whether or not we liked an adult, they were treated with respect. 'Yes, Ma'am' and 'No, Sir' was the correct way to respond. We never, ever called an adult by their first names. It was always Miss, Mrs. or Mr. I suppose it might have been easier then because we were clear about gender rolls. The only time first names were acceptable were when addressing Aunt Emily or Uncle Oscar.
I think the whole thing boils down to being taught responsibility. Making sure the garden was well kept insured that we would eat over the winter. Working before playing instilled in us a work ethic that would last a lifetime. And good manners combined with respect for others is what separated us from the savages. All of these things, even those learned as children, went a long way to attaining responsibility in all areas, including financial.
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