With tropical storm winds blowing outside, I snuggled up with an amusing autobiography from a foster family in the early the early 1900s. With the classic inked illustrations and the smell of old book, I was in heaven. As you can imagine, many things have changed. But I’m stunned by how much has stayed the same. Anne Rose opens with what people said when they began their journey:
You’re crazy! You can’t afford it and you’re making a big mistake!
My husband and I often joke about parenting being much like football coverage. When you have one child, you can double up on coverage. Then, when you have two kids, it’s one-on-one coverage. Any more than two kids and you are on zone coverage. When you’re covering a zone, it doesn’t matter how many people you have in the zone. You’re just covering your zone. Anne’s thoughts aren’t all that different. She humorously addresses the dynamics of a large family in chapter two:
By the time you have three children you are fairly numb anyway so you don’t feel it if you take in a few more.
Today, many kids enter foster care today with nothing more than a bag. It’s worth noting it wasn’t much different nearly 100 years ago. She describes how one child brought his things:
It was a brown paper bag, the kind you carry groceries in….and in it were all his possessions.
Research over the years has shown that some of the methods Anne used were likely not the most effective. So it certainly isn’t a how-to book, but it’s honest and maybe that’s the best any of us can hope for. I love the great one liners which are ample in the book. They’re sure to put a smile on any face:
Our boys enjoyed cooking, probably because they loved to eat.
Maybe my favorite part of this book are the wonderful nuggets of wisdom that one could easily mount and frame.
They kept their family rules short and sweet. One of their children would repeat them with a sweet dialect , the way kids do:
As I prepare to read a pile of books by Dr. John DeGarmo, it’s fascinating to look back in time. There are trends and there are truths. I suppose you could sum it up in the words of Solomon, ” There is nothing new under the sun. ”