What I’ve Learned from “Little Women”

& I’m only in Ch. 1

Illustration by Simona Bonafini

I started making a long list of books to add to my Books Bucket List. Having been a busy high school student and now currently a busy college student, it had been a while since I’d read for pleasure. I was sitting on my unmade bed after having binge-watched the entire second season of Stranger Things, I recognized the irony of the situation and decided to change. I immediately googled “Classic Must Read Books” and added almost every book to my list, while adding some from memory I had always heard about.

Well I remember Rachel on Friends talking about how her favorite book was Little Women; the only other thing I knew about it was that Jo died. The Alcott home is actually about thirty minutes away from my cozy home in Massachusetts, so I was pretty embarrassed to not have read it previously, but excited to finally take the chance. I was almost skipping while walking through the fifth floor of the BYU library on the hunt for my copy of “Little Women,” and since then have been floored with the nuggets of wisdom and good living coming from characters ranging from the wise mother to the crazy tomboy of the family.

Chapter One carries the great theme of hard work. While we engage in the character development of the five women in the home, the family receives a letter from the father of the home whom is off at a difficult war. The March parents have almost perfected the rule-with-love aspect of parenting, and show it consistently. In his letter home, Mr. March encourages his four daughters to continue work hard for the benefit of the family as he writes, “…remind them that while we wait we may all work, so that these hard days need not be wasted” (Little Women). As the girls discuss this amongst themselves, they are rejuvenated to continue doing a good job and even work harder as Meg responds, “…for though we do want to be good, it’s hard work, and we forget, and don’t do our best” (Little Women).

What a powerful message to our generation. We’re filled with hard days and seemingly never-ending deadlines, stressors, and are stretched in every direction. Immersing myself in the book has been a weird moment of, “wow things have changed. A ton.” But you know what, wisdom is one that can be applied in every time and in every season. Many times I find myself complaining or hating my hard moments, wishing them away to better days. I distract myself, thinking that if I can just get this one assignment done, I’ll be on the downhill to relaxation and vacation. Although it’s often an intriguing appeal, I’m here to tell you it hasn’t yet worked and probably won’t ever. Hard times are simply going to suck, but we might as well make the most of our sucky times since they’re here. Even though it’s hard work and we often get lazy because “I should conserve energy for that other thing I’ll do later” (anyone else?). Part of living in the now is enjoying the now and brings with it a lot of reminders of your potential and your power. You can do this. Often we want to be good, but it’s hard work. Let’s not forget that and do our best.

Thanks for reading!