Friday, October 10, 2008

For the Family's Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

A friend of mine gifted me with this book for my recent birthday. I've never read anything by the Shaeffers, btw, and had no idea that this was written by their daughter until I had it in my hands and saw the name on the book. I'm curious to read some of Edith Schaeffer's books so you might see those popping up on this blog sooner or later. In the meantime, I gathered from reading For the Family's Sake, that Susan approved of the way that she was raised and attempted to emulate the same for her own children. It sounds like she did a marvelous job as well.

Lately, as a result of starting our own family, I've been thinking about homemaking skills. It's so easy to ignore them, really. You get busy about life and you forget to slow down, breathe and just be. Sometimes rest seems impossibly out of reach, doesn't it? I need frequent gentle reminders that The Now is what is most important. Sometimes I need reminders of WHO is important in this present moment. I love projects and activities that keep my brain active and engaged in things outside of the home. That's one of the reasons why I love participating in 5 Minutes for Books! As a stay-at-home mom to a two year old, it's nice to find a way to keep the brain active and engaged with things other than, well, two year old things. That being said, if you ask me who the most important people in my world are, I'll be quick to tell you that those two people are my husband and my son (and our future child). Am I making time for them? Am I building a home that they want to live in? I guess you should ask them that question but I'd rather you not just yet. I'm still learning!

For the Sake of the Family is a good inspirational kick-in-the-pants kind of books. In many ways, the home life Macaulay paints seems impossibly unattainable because I don't live in Europe and therefore life isn't "quaint." (However, I do live in a log house which sparks its own imagination as to what adventures can be built into a home.) What Macaulay tries to do is encourage her readers to build homes where their family members can "put up their feet and thank God." Essentially: a relaxing, creative and peaceful environment where the family members feel loved. That's doable, right?

The great thing about this book is that despite Maccaulay's unique growing up experience (with her parents at L'Abri) and raising a family in Europe, she argues that creating a joyful home life is possible wherever you are and in whatever your circumstances. She recognizes the fact that people face unique home situations and are in different financial brackets and have varying family structures. She says that we should each look beyond what makes us different and encourage each other to pursue a content and happy home that suits our individual families and tastes.

"We need to give each other all the encouragement we can in the job of homemaking and bringing up children. Whether we work part time or not, whatever our circumstances, homes really are the heart and hearth of our lives. Babies, little and big children, young adults - everyone will benefit from an "alive-and-well" home. Creating home life is a good way to spend time; it is satisfying. Remember, Jesus said, "I prepare a place for you." (page 213)

What greater example could we have in home building than Jesus Christ?

Do be aware that one of Macaulay's chief inspirations in the education and raising of children was Charlotte Mason. In fact, I had to stop reading this book at one point just so I could research Charlotte Mason and find out her beliefs, so frequent was the mention of her. Macaulay is also a huge fan of Amy Carmichael so you'll see references to her as well.

On the whole, I found this book to be quite excellent in its balanced approach. I like that she appreciated that families look different from one another and there isn't one form that we all have to imitate. We can explore homemaking safely, knowing that God intended each family unit for a different purpose, just like He meant each individual to be unique and special. I feel safe to explore what homemaking means for me, personally, and for my people.

Excellent read.


Anonymous said...

Sounds good, I'll have to keep my eyes open for that one.
The importance to keep the home a sweet and comforting place is essential to living, the more you can love coming home the easier it is to handle what the world throws at you. I like to think of our home as our castle, the king of the keep is gone alot, he must leave in order to protect and provide so it's left up to Queen Mama to make things lovely for him to come home to, it's up to her to tend to the well being of the bodies, hearts and souls given to her care.
I wish the heart of America would seek it's place in the home once more and stop seeking money and thrills. My heart breaks when I see a homeless house. There is no life inside the walls, just alot of rushing and disorder, alot of chaos and strife.
It's always good to be reminded of the importance of Family.
Forget About Me I Love You!
Thanks for all your reading and reviewing I am enjoying your comments on all the books you get your hands on!

Unknown said...

Interesting thoughts, as always.

I agree that I have to have something to keep my brain stimulated. Maybe it's selfish, but having those outside activities keeps me rooted in my family as well -- not resenting them.

Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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