Re-post from August 2011 – Enjoy!
The PBS reality show “Frontier House” (watch here) features 3 modern day families as they journey together back into 1883 Montana.
I’m not much for movies, much less reality shows. Yet, while at the library last week, this DVD caught my eye. I’ve been watching it, 15 minutes at a time, all weekend long. Fascinating stuff.
Actually, this would be something I would be interested in participating in! However, until the producers call and ask me, I’ll settle with just reviewing the film.
So many thoughts and observations came to my mind as I watched the “Frontier House“. What I want to focus on today is relationships.
The three families who participated in “Frontier House” had every intention of working in the spirit of community. Besides this, there were three marriages that felt they were strong enough to withstand the stress of this endevour. However, relational expectations didn’t pan out as these families thought they would.
Families argue and spouses become impatient as the stress of the frontier mounts. Feeling as though they had unity for this project when they left their modern day homes for 5 months on a Montana homestead, heated tempers from unmet expectations soon revealed their worst side.
Neighbors, who thought they would be there for each other, found themselves arguing and becoming isolated from one another. When they needed each other the most, they couldn’t find a way to see past their differences. What a shame!
I found the relational strife to be a very interesting factor in “Frontier House” and yet it wasn’t dealt with in a way that taught any lessons to the viewer.
I had to wonder why, that in light of the fact that these families had good intentions, time to prepare and plan, they couldn’t get along. Why?
Frontier life in 1883 was hard…many decisions made would determine life or death for the family. The stakes were high and so was the stress.
The work was 24/7. One couple discussed the complete lack of romance due to fatigue and worries. Another couple insinuates that their marriage may not last much longer than the reality show itself. Back then, there were no “date nights” and in-laws coming over to babysit. It was all about survival.
Only 30% of the families stayed on their homesteads for the five years required to acquire ownership of their 160-acre plot of land, as promised in the ‘Homestead Act‘ of 1862. It’s no wonder.
Life expectancy at this time in history was 40 years old. In other words, the father and/or the mother may not be around to finish raising the children and to provide income…more stress.
All of this brings me to my point today….how would the Morristribe fare in a highly stressful lifestyle like this? How would YOUR family do? When the stakes are high and you’re watching your kids go hungry because of decisions you made, how would you cope? Could you stay together and work through these types of trials?
Having a plan for how your family would handle an emergency is critical. Just take a look at the headlines this weekend with hurricane Irene. I want to be a family who knows what the emergency plan is, for us, and how to snap into action if need be! Only then could we be able to help other families.
Not having a plan or the proper supplies would absolutely create a lot of stress! Having the basics of food, water and proper clothing would make all of the difference in the world if it was suddenly necessary to evacuate an area.
I find it a little amusing to see people rush to the store for food when a snow storm is predicted or worse yet, when severe conditions loom. What’s the point of that? It only emphasizes poor planning. Further, you’re subject to what’s left on the shelves, which may or may not meet your family’s needs.
One lesson I took from “Frontier House” is that despite the best preparations for an emergency situation, sometimes we as humans fall far below the proper code of conduct with each other. However, taking the time to make some kind of emergency preparation kit and plan (here as well), then rehearsing it, will allow all family members to know how to respond when, not if, an emergency occurs.
Does YOUR family have an emergency kit? How about an emergency plan of action?