Monday, October 04, 2010

Lessons of the Home From 19th Century Paintings

Teatime, Pencil and Watercolour Heightened with White on Card

Teatime, by Frank Bourdillon, (English, born in India)  1851-1924

Click on the picture and then click again for a larger view.

In the first painting, there is much to observe. These 19th century paintings had a story to tell of domestic life. Our country life, especially while home schooling our children, tended to have some of these very scenes: an outdoor tea table, children feeding pets, a cottage flower garden, and a beautiful, simple life with a distant scene of sheep in a pasture.

Grandmother's Visit

Grandmother's Visit  Giclee Print

Barison, Giuseppe  Italy,  1853-1930 

I don't know if anyone else enjoys the 19th century paintings, but I put them here for the purpose of viewing the life of that era. Some of these artists were considered realists, whose paintings were precise and life-like, looking more real than other types of art,  and some of them recorded in their paintings the real life of the times.  For a closer look at details, click on the picture, and then, at the allposters site, click on again for a very large view.

In observing these paintings, there is much to be seen in the dark corners or the sunlit pathways.  Print out some of these pictures for your children, just to learn to appreciate the details of these realist artists. You might ask the following questions.

 What are the children looking at?

 Are the children standing or sitting or gesturing the same way children do today? (I say yes!Look at the way the little girl is standing--so similar to a little child today as she or he leans across the knees of his Mama).

Which person is the Grandmother and which one is the Mother?

What objects are lying on the floor?

Do you think it is warm weather?

Would the grandmother possibly be a widow?

What is the Mother doing?

Describe the clothes the people are wearing?  In what way are they similar today?

How can you identify the boy in the picture?  How are his clothes different?

Have you seen wallpaper similar to that which is on the wall? (My answer: Yes. It is available reprinted in Victorian style wallpaper books I have seen, as well as the luxury stack of scrapbook papers you can get today.)

Is the furniture and the trim on the doorway similar to that of today?

Has the Grandmother brought something for the children?

I believe the painting shows a moment of joy and contentment in a home where the mother is relaxed and enjoying her children around her, and especially enjoying what the grandmother is doing for the children.  It is these simple things which make home life memorable. The years seem to go by so fast, and no woman will ever regret the time she spent at home. There is so much to do, and that is one reason I am hoping to post more on how to have a Titus 2 class in your home. The women in the Lord's church were given a special assignment: to teach the younger women about family and home life.

So many women in their 50's and even 60's are now going into the workforce, where they find they have no time for anything outside of work. Even without children, I believe the home is the best place for women, free from the pressures of outsiders and the demands of business.

 As women get older, they need less stress in their lives,  not more, yet the world constantly beckons them from their homes, to enter the job force. God's people will always be different and in the minority.

Once you open the Internet, messages sometimes come up saying, "Obama wants homemakers to go to work," or "Obama wants homemakers to get an education."  All kinds of seemingly easy options present themselves to women at home, but we should instead say, "God wants older women to teach younger women to be wives, mothers and guides of the home."  God's word always supersedes man's words and man's will. No matter what our government says, we must obey God, and if we do, He will provide the way. It does take faith, and faith is "the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 1:1

No matter what the government wants women to do, we should be asking, "What does God want us to do, according to His word?"  When someone wants to send a woman to work, her first questions should be, "How will I get my home in order and how will I obey the scriptures if I leave my home to work for others?"  Too often, women ask, "How will we make it financially if I stay home?" but that is a worldly question. There will of course, be exceptions, but exceptions are not the norm. There have always been women who have for some reason or other, lost a provider or lost a home, and must find ways to provide, but even they, if they are followers of the Lord, must get as close to the model He provides in the scriptures, as they can.

I believe we can learn a lot from the paintings of the past, and that is why I use them in my posts. The women look calm and at home in their roles, in these paintings, and totally concentrating on their families.

The life depicted in these paintings, life that was once more prominent than it is in our busy, mechanized world, can be reproduced simply by allowing women to be home. The widow, as portrayed here, has time to visit her grandchildren. The mother has time to sit and mend. They are unhurried. They are enjoying the moment. When we say seek the old paths, we mean these kinds of things. When women work for others outside the home, these moments are not plenteous, and housekeeping becomes mechanical, as they struggle to get things caught up before heading off to work again.  These pleasant household moments can be created today by that one practice of women staying home.


Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
It is so true about older women leaving the home to "work".The pressures in the world are tremendous and very real.When they should be enjoying God's plan for older women they are stressing themselves out for perishable goods that won't matter in 1 or 2 years.

Having been in both positions I gladly chose to obey God's Word [when I realized what it said. Sadly , it was not taught from the pulpit.]

They encouraged women to work because the tithe was bigger and women spent more on the books and tapes and the newest whatever than the men did.{I knew the bookstore manager who worked in merchandizing.}

When expecting our first child I was convicted to never work outside the house again.That I was suppose to take care of the children God gave us not a "childcare worker" who had no vested interest other than the paycheck. I now have four blessings to keep me busy and happy as we home educate them for the glory of God.

Please keep writing on this precious subject. The church and women need to hear it again and again.

I'm encouraged by your many ideas. Thank you.

Lydia said...

The attraction is a student loan that can be acquired so quickly and without collateral. If one could only get a home loan as easily. Once the 50 year old woman gets that loan, she is put through the process of re-educating her into the working world, where she will work as though she were still 20, and then, regardless of health or circumstances in her life, including different stages of her life such as the difficulties of menopause, where she will require more rest, she will be required to work and have that loan paid off. Some loans are as much as 60,000 dollars, to which they automatically add $30,000 in interest. This is a tragedy that many older women are falling for. They are not assured of the high paying jobs to pay off those loans. What if they get sick, or just become too tired to work? At that time, they should be at home knitting or sewing for grandchildren, or enjoying retirement with their husbands. To recycle them into the workforce is not human. There was a youtube segment on it about Japan, showinbg the amount of elderly women in the workforce, unable to spare time for anything else, on their feet all day long. This is only about money.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a terrible situation for older ladies. They are lured back to school and into the work force. We are told the lie today that when you are 60, you should be as energetic as when you are 20, and sadly, that is not reality. I feel sorry for middle-aged women, sweating, trying to figure out modern technology and everything, when they should be home taking care of things and taking a rest when needed. Some of this tragedy can be laid at the feet of our youth culture.

And, sadly, there are few younger ladies at home to learn from older ladies.

Jill F. said...

I recently was asked to participate in a panel of "older women" at an event called "Sophias Table" (Taken from the Proverbs that wisdom is a woman and she spreads a feast)....this was the kick-off event for the Fall woman's ministry. There was an 87 year old woman who had been a missionary and translated the entire Bible into the language of the people and then had gotten married at age 64 (!), myself (a mother of many and married for 28 years), a pastors wife etc.

We were asked questions from the younger women which had been prepared ahead of time. It was a wonderful time of sharing and laughing together. There were some fun questions thrown in just to make it interesting.

This idea is just a once in a while event but a wonderful way to share knowledge in a group.

Anonymous said...

Keep preachin' it, Mrs. Sherman! It is very easy to become sidetracked by what worldly offers are dangled in front of us women. And no matter the career, home is still the best place. It doesn't mean we never go out, it doesn't mean we don't take an interest in the goings-on in the world, it doesn't mean we turn a blind eye to the suffering & plights of others. But home is where we can make a difference; where we can have the most influence.


June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

Lovely post, Lady Lydia. Once again you have nailed it on the head.

This is a topic I am passionate about as a homeschooling mom of 8 and because of that I am teaching women how to stay home and make money from their blogs! I do it, and was very surprised I could and now I am teaching others how.

If any one would like to learn more how to make money from home as the Proverbs 31 woman did while doing something you love (blogging) you can read about it here:

Many blessings...

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Thank you again for reminding us how important it is that women remain at home. I began my married life by working outside the home and by the time I was pregant with #3 we decided that it's best that I remain home. I homeschooled some of our children and our last child has just entered public high school.

However, everyone around us - yes everyone and at times even my own husband, has become obsessed with my lack of a "career" or just my reluctantness to embrace paid work. My husband, the children, and the home are all well cared for, yet they don't realize that this warm and nurturing environment is possible because I am home. Never mind that my husband has a very good salary and I have a chronic illness, all that is really irrelevant in their opinions that outside work completes a woman.

Funny story: My 81 yr old feminist mother-in-law who has always been critical of my being home is currently being ravaged by alzheimers. She is unaware of who or where she is and does not recognize anyone not even her own children. Well my husband went to visit her and in front of everyone she says in a very loud voice "IS 'MARY' WORKING YET OR IS SHE STILL BEING LAZY'???. Then she promply sat down and went back to her fog of not knowing anything or anyone.

Also, I know I will be accused of being a socialist but... IN MY OPINION in this job market with so many young and capable people (that may include my own college educated children) unemployed, I find that it would be wrong for me at almost 50 yrs old to compete for these very limited jobs. I am not refering to getting a job because it is needed, I am referring to older women obtaining employment just because it is expected and encouraged.

To older women, I say leave the jobs to those who need it and concentrate on doing what GOD says.

Lydia said...

Years ago it was advocated by everyone in society, that jobs were left for those who had no providers in the family. It does not help the economy for so many women, whose husbands or fathers have employment already and who can support them, to take jobs, and it does not help them get ahead, for some reason. They tend to get into debt and then have to keep working.The working women syndrome is a great loss to our churches, our homes, and our neighborhoods. Women at home do make a great contribution in life, and most of all, they fulfill the commands to be keepers at home.

It is indeed many elderly women who are the great feminists, who promoted feminism, and who pushed their daughters into college so they could get careers. Now, some women in that system feel they have no choice at all. It was like a previous generation decided for them what their life would be like.

In staying home, however, women need to understand they have to give up some of the working-woman habits they have of buying conveniences and services, and learn to do more things themselves. Things like cooking from basic ingredients (dont' forget, a homemaker has the time at home to do this. She need not be so rushed) and sewing, and keeping the house clean and repaired, and using products and equipment carefully and with thrift, help to keep expenses low, so that you can stay home. One need not think they need to have a lot of money in order to be at home. This is a rumor spread to scare women away from staying home. Women have always been able to be at home, and even in the depression of the 1930's they didnt go to work in masses. It is propaganda that has to do with the tax base. In a depression, there are no jobs, so I dont know the reasoning behind women going to work in hard times. There is downsizing in hiring, in hard times.

There are ways to earn money at home, and I have found the easiest and way is low spending.

candy said...

I loved this post Lydia!
And the comments here too, I always enjoying reading the comment section because you always have great points!
I couldn't agree more with you!


GentleDove said...

This is why I love old books, too. You learn the old way of speaking to one another in the home, the little detail the eye picked out of a scene and comments on, the quaint and homey habits and customs of an earlier day.

And it's so true about the contentment on women and children's faces. Despite the lack of materialistic luxuries we take for granted today (and believe we "need"), there was a slower pace and time could be taken for the necessary things and the loving things. The work at home could be done so as to train children or younger people along the way, as they went. It reminds me of Deut. 6:6-7.

Yesterday I was in the grocery store about 6:30 pm. It was full of men buying groceries for one, and exhausted, haggard-looking young women with one or two screaming young children. Just tiredly dragging screaming children behind them, enduring it.

You could tell there was no time to train the children, to take them aside. They all were probably hungry and tired and "stressed out" from being away from home and mommy all day. So the woman rushes through work, rushes to pick up the children, rushes to pick up the convenience food dinner, rushes to get the children home, feed them, put them to bed, do the chores, and go to bed to get up and do it all over again. No time to pay attention to a husband, if there is one anymore or ever was one, no time to train the children; just "putting out fires," struggles, and "damage control," managing, and surviving, all with exhaustion and the haunting sense of despair and meaninglessness of it all.

The grocery bagger (or what used to be called a "box-boy")? A little old Asian lady in her 70's. Asking everyone if they need help out to their car! Who in the world is going to make her take their groceries out to their car!?! It's insane, topsy-turvy. Boys in their young teens should be doing this job!!

Our society is a mess! Thank God for His salvation, His way in which to walk, the faith He gives to live the life He has given us. What a contrast our lives can be from the status quo, if we will relax, forget fear and the miserable naysayers, and joyfully walk in His paths!

Anonymous said...

Problem is too that when these working women retire they have no idea what to do with their time! They have always been on their bosse's schedule! What will this couple do now bumping into each other before 5 at night! :) The things we learned when first married or at our Mother's lap about cooking from scratch or whatever they still have to learn! If they retired with little savings there will even be more trouble. They will be the ones needing the Titus 2 training. How sad. I hear women say so many times that their husbands or their children cook all the meals if they do not eat out. How will they eat if they are alone later and cannot get out?? Their poor children will know even less than their Mother did about caring for a home especially on a small budget. Cara

Lydia said...

I also found this to be true: older women who worked all their lives may want to take up the Titus 2 role and mentor younger women, but they know nothing about the true things they should teach about marriage, homemaking, raising children. Instead, they tend to get excited about the latest pop psychology course, or want to teach about the stock market. Sometimes they want to encourage younger women to join missionary efforts, yet they do not realize the greatest and most neglected mission field is the home.
dont have a concept of staying home and want to know why the younger women do not want to leave their homes to go to social events. Having rarely been at home, the older women tend to be restless, once they retire, and feel lonely. Spending a lifetime in the workforce also causes these women to want to teach younger women to do the same, instead of teaching them to pay attention to their houses and their husbands and the other things that they could do in their lives.

Anonymous said...

You are 100% correct about what happens with older women and student loans! I almost fell for it myself, though I am closer to
40 (still old enough to know better). It is incredibly easy to acquire student loan debt, but much more difficult to pay it off.
The internet is full of sad stories about students, young and old, who are mired in debt.

Colleges play a role in the problem as well. For example, I was considering going part time, and the college advisor was pushing me to go full time for a major I was not even sure of yet. They make it seem very urgent for older women to get their education because they will have fewer years to reap the "benefits".

Families also play a huge part in women deciding to back to school as well. I know my elderly parents would be thrilled if I would do anything other than stay home and care for my family, even though my family is doing very well with me home. I suspect many of the older women who return to school and work in their older years don't really want to, but are caving in to years of pressure.

Rosemary said...

I love your pictures and look forward to your blog every day.I collect these sort of pictures and have been doing for 40+ years.

Anonymous said...

I too look forward to your posts. Some days I search your blog for things such as homemaking, crafts, and sewing. Your post are a definite encouragement to some of us stay at home moms that get comments from in-laws and others, but who would also like to stay at home if they had enough courage to do so. My two daughters now in their early twenties will occasionally comment that they were glad they got to come home when school was out instead of having to go to a daycare after school. They were also able to stay after school if they chose for meetings or other activities because they knew they could just call me to come pick them up. Even though I drive an older car God has always blessed me to have a nice looking car. I have time to do crafts (some have been inspired by your posts) which I send to a couple of ministries for people in Haiti and Africa. I look forward to more of your homemaking, and more of your sewing and more of your crafting blogs.

Also have you made any simple peices of furniture like a table or desk?

Thanks for all your posts.

Lydia said...

No, I don't build furniture.

I do plan on making some more paper crafts and a simple sewing project for autumn. We are having very nice weather conditions so I am still painting outside. Someone gave me an old dresser and I am anxious to get it done before the rainy season comes. I dont post much in good weather because if I can be outside, I take advantage of it. I will post some pictures of my outdoor painting projects.

Anonymous said...

I had never thought about the older ladies getting student loans. Even the younger people have trouble paying them off and they have more years to do so. Also they don't have house payments etc yet. So just when they should be winding down their expenses looking towards retirement they are adding to their load of debts. :( I just heard a commentator saying that some students who have loans to be lawyers or doctors or other professions that take extra years live poor for many many years trying to pay these big loans off. Their friends think they have so much money due to their profession but in acuality they are very poor.Putting an even higher tax on these young so called high earners would further exasperate the situation. This world is such a muddled mess isen't it! I cannot imagine trying to find peace in this world without our Lord. I am thankful all over again for God allowing me to be home and not out in the world any more than I want to. Cara

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your timely thoughts on how important it is to be a keeper at home. As a younger woman, I am eager to talk with and learn from the older woman - they are so encouraging to me!

During the summer, I was attending a ladies Bible study about how to pattern your life to be a Titus 2 woman. The woman who led the class was an older woman who had spent quite a bit of her time preparing and teaching her lessons. Throughout the lessons, the young women attending had slowly lost interest, and during the lessons I would see them roll their eyes, "sigh" a lot - I was pretty frustrated with them. They would all tell you that yes, they stay-at-home, and yes they love their husbands and children, etc. But they want to do it their way rather than seeking God in managing their homes and how to spend their time.

I really enjoyed the class and have a hard time understanding why women seem to resist striving to be a woman patterned after God's word. If older women are given the instruction to teach the younger women, then there is much to be said for the younger women that we need to be listening and eager to glean from the teachings of the older women.

Thank you so much for your time and thoughts on this subject. Blessings! Mrs. W.

Anonymous said...

I do not think the 50 plus women are thinking of the future maybe not being what they expect after getting one of those loans. They think it will mean a new career and find out that as they age, they do not have the stamina to keep up with the job world. They may also get sick, or have demands on them at home. Some ladies in their 50's are taking care of their elderly parents full time. Sometimes the jobs are not available that their education promises. How will these women repay those loans if they get sick or have feeble health in the later years? It does not make sense for them to work outside the home.

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. W. I am planning to post about hosting a Titus 2 class and what to expect. There is a great deal of feminism in the church, as most women actually are seeped in years and years of public school doctrine, which ignores the TItus 2 role for women in the church. The church ignores it too. When a woman teaches such a class, she can expect there will be a certain amount of rolling the eyes and undermining. I have a friend who teaches one each month, and sometimes the young women are not kind in their acceptance of it, and agree together to boycott her classes. It can be very discouraging, but as the class dwindles down to just a few, you actually have a better class because you get rid of the ones that are preventing really solid teaching. Sometimes it seems as though people place themselves in church groups just to make sure no one takes the Bible too seriously.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful piece Lydia.

I also learn a lot from the comments.

~ Ann