Old-School Education

Dear Daughter,

I would like to take a moment and tell you how much I love you.  Words are very difficult to find to express exactly how I feel about you and the joy that you have brought to my life.  There is so much that I am thinking.

One of my favorite things about you is that you are left-handed.  Neither your dad or I are left-handed.  It shows me that even though you are 50% my DNA and 50% his, you are still you.  You are unique and special and have your own thoughts, dreams, desires, talents and abilities.  I think it is easy for people to think you are a mini-me, but you're not.  You're on loan to me from Heavenly Father.  A Spirit picked to come to our family.  Though you are young, you have your own preferences and style.  I love that you can offer me opinions about crafts and fashion.  I love discovering all of your potential and watching your talents blossom.  For some reason, every time I see you pick up a pencil, and decidedly use your left-hand, your whole life flashes before my eyes, because I know that you will do great things.  Most of them without me.  You are you, and I am me.

Right now you are still young and you do exhibit many age-appropriate behaviors.  I love how you nurture your dolls or me, because you have no younger sibling.  I love watching your limited coordination, or hearing you mix up consonant sounds, because I know all too soon you will be a grown, refined woman.  I know I need to spend more time with you.  It is all going too quickly and I miss your earlier stages.

I am impressed with your love of the Lord.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing you sing hymns all day long.  Recently, you've been singing "Praise to the Man" and "The Spirit of God" the most, but you also have a vast repertoire of over 50 Primary Songs/ Hymns.  I love your little prayers and desire to serve others.  I love when you decide we should pray for someone and we stop and do it right then.  I love that you already have your sights on the temple.  I love that the "Joseph Smith Movie" is your media of choice and that you watch it several times a week.  I also secretly love that you insist upon singing "Latter-Day Prophets" before we read scriptures every night, though I try to get out of it every night.  I also love your support of me in my calling.  Yesterday at the Church, you stood up at the Primary microphone and said "I'm Sister [our last name].  I'm giving a talk." and proceeded to share what you knew about the gospel.  I was busy doing other things, but now I wish I had stopped and hung on your every word.  You have been really patient as Dad and I have served others, but I know that Heavenly Father blesses you for helping us help others.

Now, my little pioneer, pay attention to this.  I hope you never grow out of your pioneer stage.  We all loved Nauvoo, this summer, and all have been inspired by the early saints of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I have decided that the best thing I can teach you is to be like a pioneer woman.  I came to this conclusion a few weeks ago when I was wondering what to do about your education.  Homeschooling?  Public schooling?  There are a lot of options and everyone seems to be so concerned about starting earlier and earlier.  All of your friends are starting pre-school, pre-K, or Kindergarten, AND dance lessons, gymnastics and soccer.  I have wondered what we should do.  There are so many different ideologies.  Some people have a full-blown curriculum for their 2 1/2 year old that they plan to home-school.  Other parents are lamenting that their child went to Kindergarten knowing too much.  They were so far ahead of everyone that they were bored and never were able to develop a "good work ethic."  This led to difficulties later in the upper grades.  What am I to think?

Lately, I have been turning to the pioneers for inspiration.  I know they did not have the same educational opportunities as we have now, so I don't know if it is a fair place to look for inspiration.  Pioneers did learn to read and write when possible and taught their children.  There were several schools in Nauvoo.  We toured one.

Literacy was important then, and our Church still recognizes it as important now.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also encourages women to get an education.  I know that pioneer women valued education.  I also know they valued hard work.

Daughter, I want to teach you to work hard, like a pioneer woman.  I want you to know how to keep house, how to sew, how to cook, how to value your time and money.  I want you to know how to preserve and prepare for emergencies.  I want you to constantly render compassionate service to others like a pioneer woman.  I want you to value your relationships with other people and how you treat them.  I want to teach you to have faith like a pioneer woman who endured a life of constant struggle and sorrow, yet NEVER wavered in her belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want you to love the Lord, like a pioneer woman would, consecrating everything she had to the growth of the Kingdom.  I want you to know that you are a beloved and precious daughter of God, that you should be virtuous, and have a love for the scriptures & and the words of the prophets.  Be prayerful, learn to read and write, and yes, value constant education like a pioneer woman.

The world gets caught up in schooling, and creative crafts and learning materials while frequently forgetting about moral values and work.  Yes, Daughter, the best thing that I can do is to teach you to be like a pioneer woman and that's exactly what I plan to do.

I love you so much.  I feel like I have told nothing in comparison to all of my love for you.

Be strong and always trust in the Lord.



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