“Little House On the Prairie” had lots of lessons to dish out to dedicated viewers, some of whom have applied those tenets to their everyday lives to guarantee peace, happiness, and contentment – Just like the Ingalls.
Unarguably one of the most favorite family TV series to grace the screens, “Little House On The Prairie” racked up a wide audience in the seventies and eighties. The series, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books, followed a low-income family living on a farm in Plum Creek in Minnesota.
Despite their humble living conditions, the family of seven always appeared happy and content, never hesitating to appreciate nature’s gifts to them. Fans of the series could hardly deny “Little House On The Prairie” was indeed packed with impactful lessons on hard work, contentment, love, loyalty, kindness, and honesty.
Each episode of the nine-seasons show had a message or several to pass across to viewers, making it not only entertaining but impactful and educative. That said, here are nine of the power-packed lessons we learned from watching Laura Ingalls’ “Little House On The Prairie” and its sequels.
1. It Never Hurts To Ask For Help
“Little House On the Prairie” taught an important lesson on the limitless benefits of teamwork and asking for help. The Ingalls showed us that on various occasions, from working on the farm as a team during harvest to working together to build a barn.
Laura Ingalls’s decision to volunteer to wipe down the dishes each morning alongside her older sister, Mary Ingalls was one moment we truly learned seeking help was priceless. It saves you from being overwhelmed, and as a bonus, gets things done faster.
2. Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Throughout the nine-seasons run series, we see the Ingalls live in familial bliss in each other’s company. Their laughter ringing out as they worked in the barn, the tear-jerking moments they held hands together in prayer just before sharing a meal, and their continuous cheerfulness all gave off a wealth of joy.
Their ability to appreciate even the little things of life, without once feeling deprived left the family an epitome of happiness. That could not be said about their wealthy neighbors, the Olesons. (Think Nasty Nellie and her grumpy dad).
The Ingalls’ approach to life proved it took more than just cash to buy the most-prized things of life, including happiness.
3. Communication Makes All The Difference
Bet no one ever did more moving than the Ingalls in their quest to find a place to call home. Yet, every member of the family took it in their strides, never once complaining.
While this might seem like an expected approach from the TV-perfect family, maintaining peace in the face of hardship required more than a reputation of perfection. This is especially true for a married couple with kids.
Although Ma was certainly an angel of a wife and mother, she might not have been so understanding if Pa had failed to share his plans with her beforehand.
Viewers saw this play out right before Pa decided to move the family from their Big Woods home to the Prairie. He calmly consulted his wife and sought her approval, which is saying a lot given they lived in an era where gender equality was nonexistent.
4. Be The Neighbor You Want To Have
The Ingalls were perfect to a fault, which many believe would have been their doom in the real world. But “Little House On the Prairie” proved those kind gestures and flawless reputation always pay off in the end.
For the Ingalls, their good deeds paid off when it mattered most. One noteworthy moment was during their big move from Big Woods to the Prairie.
Finding it difficult to accommodate all their properties, they decided to leave behind all their furniture, taking only things that could fit into their covered wagon.
That was until a new neighbor came to the rescue, offering to help the family erect their little house on the Prairie to better fit all their items only after a brief introduction. And what sturdy structure Mr. Edwards built!
5. Hunger Has Its Perks
There is no denying that the “Little House” films taught viewers to appreciate everything they had, no matter how little. Of course, the Ingalls were at the forefront of making us realize just that in their constant struggle to brave their hardship while living from hand to mouth.
The family of seven never took anything for granted, not even the little morsels on their plates on those hard days. Instead, each bite gave them a new reason to appreciate their next meal.
Notably, Pa’s dedication and hard work always kept food on his family’s table, but the knowledge that harvest was unpredictable taught them to value every bite.
Seeing the Ingalls share whatever little they had, at the expense of a full stomach, highlighted the importance of sharing ad contentment. Certainly, only the experience of hunger could make one value every meal as they did.
6. The Numbers Don’t Matter
Age is but a number, and so is size. At least from Pa’s perspective. But viewers saw Laura Ingalls prove her father’s words right over and over again right from her tender age.
Early on in her life, Laura Ingalls’ dad, Charles Ingalls, let his daughter know that no matter her size, she could become as strong as a little French horse.
Equipped with the knowledge that her barely five-foot frame was no barrier to achieving her dream, Laura became unstoppable. At fourteen, she earned her first cash working as a local seamstress.
By the time she turned fifteen, the determined teenager became a highly acclaimed school teacher. But her achievement did not end there. She went on to build a family, own a farm, become a renowned columnist and write “The Little House” books which made her a best-selling author.
7. Be Outspoken
Being outspoken not only earned Laura Ingalls the love of her life, but it also ensured he stuck with her without room for scandals. The brave, intelligent daughter of Pa and Ma showed her no-nonsense nature when she discovered her suitor was taking Nellie Oleson on joy rides as well.
Neglecting her feelings, she called him out for his actions, making it clear to him she would not condone such actions. She offered him an ultimatum to “take Nellie for a drive” if he wanted to, or forfeit his relationship with her.
Despite knowing he had no romantic inclination towards Nellie, Almanzar never attempted to defend his lousy actions. Instead, he finally quit hanging out with Nellie, and apologized to Laura, ensuring peace in their relationship.
Sometimes, overcoming that fear of being perceived as irrational or over-presumptuous and actually voicing your stance could be the turnaround we crave.
8. Hard Work Pays
One thing common to the Ingalls is their ability to work hard, and their willingness to keep at it even in the harshest conditions. For nine seasons viewers watched this family strive to make ends meet, without neglecting the chores required to keep the home running.
At the break of dawn each day, every member of the family, including the visually impaired Mary Ingalls got up and went about the day’s job. While Pa toiled on the farm, Ma busied herself making dough, weaving yarn, or pounding millet.
The kids also did their bits, from wiping down dishes and setting the table to doing the laundry and hanging them out to dry.
Another important lesson the Ingalls taught us on “Little House On The Prairie” is that delegation, and doing things in bits renders better results than doing it all at once.
Viewers also saw the Ingalls help a handful of seemingly problematic kids overcome their demons just within days of joining the family in their chores, either in their home or on the farm with Pa.
9. Value The Gift Of Sight
Mary Ingalls’ world turned upside down after losing her sight in the fourth season. Following that event, things never remained the same again for the picture-perfect family in Walnut Groove.
Along with the Ingalls, Mary’s struggle to acclimatize herself with things she’d usually take for granted gave viewers a different perspective on life. The thought-provoking episode which marked the onset of Mary’s struggles remained one of the highest-rated episodes of the series.
Each struggle she endured became a new reason to imagine life without the priceless gift of sight and other usually overlooked senses. Being part of that struggle, albeit through the screens, taught us to better appreciate the ability to see.
Notably, Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Ingalls drove home the message so well that she earned an Emmy nod.
While dishing out these lessons to the rest of the world, the cast of “Little House On the Prairie” also tapped into their nuggets, which has helped them sail through their life and career seamlessly.
Melissa Sue Anderson knew exactly when to quit acting and focus on raising her kids, a move that has sustained her long-time marriage to Michael Sloan.
Michael Landon, who played Charles Ingalls also took a page out of the Ingalls books and followed his heart even though it meant going against everyone else.
He married Cindy Clerico, whom he met and fell in love with during her time as a stand-in on “Little House On The Prairie.” Despite their 20-year age gap and the negative impact on Landon’s career, their marriage defied expectations, lasting until Landon’s death in 1991.