I’m reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women at the moment, and while I’ve read the book once or twice before, this is the first time I’ve read it as a mom. And it’s changing the way I read the book. Rather than identifying with the March girls (Meg, who dreams of marriage, or Jo, who’s passionate about reading), I’m drawn to Mrs. March and the way she winsomely and wisely counsels her growing daughters.
“I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good; to be admired, loved, and respected; to have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married, and to lead useful, pleasant lives, with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send. To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman; and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience. It is natural to think of it, Meg; right to hope and wait for it, and wise to prepare for it; so that, when the happy time comes, you may feel ready for the duties and worthy of the joy. My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world – marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing – and, when well used, a noble thing – but I never want you to think of it was the first or only prize to strive for. I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”
– Mrs. March in Little Women
My own daughter, June, is just seven months old, but in reading this book I’m beginning to cast my eyes down the lane of life to imagine our yet-to-be-spoken conversations . . .
Are there books that have shaped the way that you parent? Which mothers in literature do you admire?