When I was in high school, I prided myself (as did my parents) that I was enrolled in “honors” classes. When the class rankings came out, I was usually in the top ten percent. I can vividly remember thinking and commenting negatively about the girls (in my all girls school) who took home economics. To me that was a class for students who couldn’t handle a challenging academic schedule. Well, it has taken decades for me to eat my words, and I realize now that among all the subjects covered in school, home economics may be the one with lasting value.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines an economist as, “One who manages domestic or other concerns with frugality; one who expends money, time or labor judiciously, and without waste.” Had I made a point of really learning how to sew, garden, make repairs, and cook when I was younger, the job of running and managing a household would have been smoother. This is not to disparage the other traits and skills that I possess. However, in looking back over my child-rearing years, having a firmer foundation in these more basic, fundamental areas would have enhanced the effective use of my talents. Because I had to “farm-out” many of the things I now know how to accomplish, my choices didn’t always reflect frugality without waste.
Though my mother passed away while I was still young, there were grandparents around who attempted to teach me the very things I dismissed as nonessential. I think I categorized their desire to teach me the skills of growing food and planting flowers as something one does if she can’t do other things. Yet, in looking back at how capable these two Italian immigrants were who managed to raise, provide for, and educate their three children, while owning a successful tailor shop, I am humbled by their achievements.
So for those of you who wonder if you are doing a good job with your children (specifically your girls), let me recommend that you teach them how to provide for themselves (and by extension their future families) in very practical ways. Sure, they may decide to have others make or tailor their clothes, or they may hire repair persons to fix broken items in their home, but to be one who manages judiciously over the affairs of the household without waste requires that she understands the big picture of overseeing the work being done and has a standard for knowing what is acceptable, good, and excellent.
Along with learning and applying the law-word of God to all areas of life, a Proverbs 31 lady should focus on building a tool box of practical skills that will allow her to have a basis for branching out into other entrepreneurial activities that Proverbs 31 describes. This is how Kingdom-driven families will thrive.