The Great Depression

We typically follow history in chronological order on the Christian Timeline. However, at the beginning of the school year, I felt led to cover the Great Depression with our children. But how does that tie into the Bible???  Well, I had to begin with research.

Step 1. Research

A. I researched for literature to read and I came across a book at the library titled: We Had Everything But Money. What a wonderful book! It’s comprised of letters from people who were adults and children during the Great Depression.
B. Next, what was the Holy Spirit wanting me to impart to my children from this topic? What did He want ME to learn and meditate on? There were many principles throughout We Had Everything But Money, but what stood out to me to teach at that time was: 1) Work; 2) Thanksgiving; 3) Brotherly Love (love your neighbor); 4) Selflessness; 5) Who is the ultimate  provider during “easy” and difficult times?
C. I got out my Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and looked up those words. I looked up any words in the definition that stood out to me, as well.
D. Then I went to a concordance to look those words up to see what the Bible had to say about them.

Step 2. Reason- cause to effect (so on the surface the end result of the Great Depression caused difficult times for many people in the nation- the effect is how the people handled it).

How do I teach my children to reason Biblically for themselves, producing excellent Christian scholarship?

A. As we read through We Had Everything But Money, we would discuss different aspects. For example: back then, if people went on the “welfare” system, they did it only if they HAD to. Their names were put on a list for others to see. They were diligent in finding work… or creating work… and to pay back every penny to the government to have their name taken off the list. People still worked when on the “system” … they didn’t “work the system.”
B. Read scripture pertaining to that aspect. An example of what the Bible says about work is: 2 Thessalonians 3:8-10 NKJV

“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”

Wow! We learned how faithful many were to apply this principle to their lives… despite the economy… despite the challenges. They did not rely on the government to do everything for them (what a contrast to many today!). In fact, we learned of some very creative ways people earned money! Then we talked about the principle of individuality (how God has created us uniquely and how no two people are exactly alike. How God is creative, and man being made in His image, is creative too!).

Step 3: Relate- relating the application

So, the kids learned to reason from scripture that we are to work and not expect hand outs. Sometimes this looks differently. We may work for pay check and can go buy food. Or sometimes we work for someone who needs something done, and they provide a need for us as payment (such as lodging, food, clothing, etc.). That happened a lot during the Great Depression.

Step 4: Record- recording the individual applications.

Make this what you want it to be! Tailor it to your kids’ interests! Our kids recorded notes from the lesson to be filed in their notebooks.

We did a small version of a “Great Depression Day” that I had come across on a blog. On the blog, this family invited friends over, they looked up art from that time period and created posters, they did a huge meal theme, the kids dressed in period clothing. Well, as I said, we simplified it. 🙂

We looked up meals from the Great Depression on-line and watched several clips of Clara. She’s in her 90’s and as she cooks, she teaches the recipe and tells stories from her life. We tried a couple of meals (not too bad actually!). I hope you enjoy learning from Clara, too!

We also tried a syrup recipe from the We Had Everything But Money book.

We are not big on movies, but we did watch Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. We also borrowed the Kit Kittredge: An American Girl book from the library and discussed Biblical Principles further.

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