Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lessons on Life at an Earlier Time Through Vintage Photography

If you've been reading my blog, you've noticed how fascinated I am by early photography, especially that time period from about 1860s through the 1930s. There's just something about these early photos which show life as it was in simpler times that makes me smile.

The photo above, of a young toddler, is a fine example. She's feeding the family's chickens, and at her tender age - probably about two - she's already learning responsibility. Feeding chickens is just one chore in this family's daily duties, and this youngster is learning to do her part. Probably this was just something fun to do on this sunny afternoon, but it's a fine way for children to learn to help out with family chores and learn personal responsibility at the same time.

This photo came from an Indiana family's photo album, and follows several different members of the family from the 1890s through the 1930s. If you want to see other everyday-people photos from my antiques webshop, click here.

These chickens are almost as big as she is, yet this young lady is fearless! In fact, she's quite comfortable amongst these birds, and she's smiling. She's learning a second lesson - don't be intimidated. The Depression-era generation lived during difficult times, yet they held their own and even prospered, just because their parents knew how to raise them to be strong individuals. Chickens don't scare her! Of course, Mom was probably a step outside the camera's range, but still - how many of today's toddlers do you know who can go eye-to-eye with frisky barnyard fowl, yet not run away screaming? How fabulous is that??!!

Now here's a third lesson, one that's a bit harder to see in this photo. This little girl is learning from her Mother that she shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Take a close look at her shoes - she's wearing her pretty Mary Jane shoes. Many Moms would be aghast at the idea of their toddler wandering a farmyard, feeding chickens and getting those nice leather shoes dirty. After all, those Mary Janes weren't cheap, and a toddler wouldn't know anything about keeping her shoes clean. But this Mother understood the importance of the first two lessons, and decided that if her daughter's shoes came out a bit worse for the wear, it wasn't very important in the overall big picture.

Recently I learned to ask myself a very important question when facing something that bugs me. It's a question which addresses the overall big picture - I silently ask myself "Will it matter in two weeks?" If the answer is no, then it's time for me to get over it and move on. If the answer is yes, then I must try to find a satisfying solution.

And if there's no solution - and that doesn't happen too often - then it's still time to get over it and move on. After all, one can't change what cannot be changed, right?

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