Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Frontier House - my opinion

Way back in the year 2001, PBS made a reality series called Frontier House.  I did not watch it back then as I was busy freaking out about my husband being called up in the National Guard.  Actually, I had never heard of it until this year.  And when I read what it was about it sounded like it was right up my alley.  So I put it in my que on Netflix and it was delivered soon after.

There were three families chosen and you can read more about them here.  There were three different families - a rich family from California, a remarried couple from Tennessee and a single man who was engaged and to be married on the show.  There was much complaining in the beginning and I had wished it would have been families who were actually interested in homesteading but it did not seem like these families were.

What pulled at my heart were the children.  They had to work HARD, very hard.  But they seemded to thrive towards the end.  There is a wonderful quote at the end of episode 5 where one of the boys tells about the toys that he has to play with on the frontier versus his Play station back home and at the end of it he says, "I have discovered imagination."  Isn't that just precious?  It kills me what the 21st century has done to our children.  It has made them lazy and obese.  It has taught them that you don't really need to work for things to get things.  It has made them bored and shortened their attention spans.

A blog I read put up some great quotes from some of the shows.  One of the quotes  is from one of the teenagers from the rich family:

I feel like I’m growing up a lot here because like before like if I was in Temecula or California or wherever I used to live like I wouldn’t do anything. I would just sit on my butt and watch TV and I was just a lazy person. But like now that I’m actually doing work I feel like a better person. Like you know I’m actually doing something to help other people.
Tracy Clune

SPOILER ALERT:  One of the things I was most disappointed about was the ending.  When the families transitioned back into "real" life it seemed none of them changed anything about their surroundings.  I was hoping someone would at least plant a big garden or talk of buying land but  it was so sad to see what they said.  Quotes from the blog A Gracious Home.

You’re a man or a woman working hard in the twenty-first century and your kids don’t know what it is that you do. It’s seamless. They’re isolated from it. And that’s sad… I realized that more so than ever since I’ve been back. But in five months in 1883 I got more satisfaction, more accomplishment, more appreciation than I did my entire career beforehand.
Gordon Clune

I think the year 2001 is kind of boring. Every day I always say I’m bored and my parents get mad at me for it. But there’s nothing to do. There’s just nothing to do here. You get kind of tired of going to the mall every day. And you get kind of tired of doing nothing all day.
Tracy Clune

The twenty-first century you’re bored because there’s so many things. It’s like you have so much stuff that you’re just bored of all of it. In 1883 you have such little stuff that it was like special to you when your mom would buy you stuff and things just for you.
Logan Patton

It’s an unnatural life that the twenty-first century offers us. I think there’s just too much. There’s too much stimulus. The pace and the noise and the…florescent lighting… It’s a bit overwhelming… Your principles, your ideals, your morals… they’re all for sale. I think there’s a lot of problems that we’re just not admitting.
Mark Glenn

I am not a frontier woman.  I don't like bugs or mice or raccoons or opossums.  But I do feel a tug to bring my children up in a life where not everything is handed to them.  I feel so strongly that I want to have some kind of farm life.  I want to grow a garden with them and make them have their own little plot so they can see how awesome it is to plant a seed and watch it grow into food that is served on your table.  I want them to take care of some animals so they can learn what responsibility is.  I want them to take pride in their work and know that life isn't just about working hard to buy stuff but it is about working hard to provide for your family and to be able to know how to do more things than just get in their car and drive to the grocery store.

I want our family to work together for a common goal.  I hope you will sit down together with your family and watch Frontier House and then maybe have a discussion about it.  You never know what can happen.


  1. Right now we live at the beach and this is our 4th attempt to move. Our motivation is to give the kids more of a country life. My husband wants to show them, now that their older, how to build a workshop and plant a garden etc. It's super duper important especially for boys to instill a work ethic in them. My daughter who is 16 wants to learn more about herbs and such but most of her "homesteading" can happen inside the home.
    This was great to read. Thanks for posting it!

  2. I've always wanted to see it,too. Maybe I'll take some time to watch it.

    I'm with you, not a fan of ickyness (bugs, etc), but am trying to do what I can to spare the kids from the sense of entitlement that seems like the norm in our culture.

  3. Have you read any updates? The Glenn husband went back to live in the cabin and work for the man who owned the land the show was filmed on. The Clunes got divorced and Gordon remarried. Adrienne is a chef now. The Brooks have a blog where they post pics of their travels around the world with their 3 kids. I loved this show!

    1. No but I love the updates you shared, thank you!


I love comments!