In Chapter 21, “Father Speaks,” Caddie’s father shares with her his vision of a strong woman:
It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things their way! A woman’s task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness. It’s a big task, too, Caddie – harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers. It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. They have them just as much as the men who build bridges and carve roads through the wilderness. A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s. But no man could ever do it so well. I don’t want you to be the silly, affected person with fine clothes and manners whom folks sometimes call a lady. No, that is not what I want for you, my little girl. I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind. Do you think you would like to be growing up into that woman now? How about it, Caddie, have we run with the colts long enough?
And five paragraphs later:
But something strange had happened to Caddie in the night. When she awoke she knew that she need not be afraid of growing up. It was not just sewing and weaving and wearing stays. It was something more thrilling than that. It was a responsibility, but, as Father spoke of it, it was a beautiful and precious one, and Caddie was ready to go and meet it.
I commented to my girls that I really loved Caddie’s father for how beautifully he had spoken of the role of a wife and mother, that he recognized that it is a thrilling and beautiful thing, a treasure beyond compare to be responsible for the human beings God has given us.
A radiant smile crept into Betsy's face. Without looking up, and continuing to color in the princess coloring book before her, she said in a way that was both decided and dreamy, “I want to have kids when I grow up.”
And what higher compliment could a mother or a book receive?
That’s why I love our read-alouds.