The Hidden Art of Homemaking Book Club: Chapter 10, Drama

Chapter 10 of The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer, which we’re discussing a chapter at a time at  The Hidden Art of Homemaking Book Club hosted by Cindy at Ordo Amoris, is about drama.

I didn’t think I would get much out of this chapter. I have little if any ability in regard to acting anything out. I remember one night at church when I was a child and we were supposed to be acting out a scene from the Bible where people were mourning (I think maybe the widow in the New Testament whose son had died whom Jesus raised to life). We either had veils or handkerchiefs – I remember all that showed for us “mourners” was our eyes, and I couldn’t stop giggling, but that left me red-faced and teary, so I suppose it had the same effect. 🙂 I tried maybe once doing a skit in college and was miserable at it. It’s hard for me to keep a straight face even when as a family we are trying to surprise or put something over on someone.

I also wasn’t sure how Edith would incorporate drama into home life. I can see its use in the church or in Christian ministry, but in the home, at first the only application I could think of was in reading aloud to children. And that’s primarily what she talked about, though she ventured into some discussions of the value of reading books, different types of books to read, etc.

Some of my favorite times with my children when they were young were when I read stories out loud to them, and though I’m not great at doing different voices for different characters, I made an attempt and also tried to convey the different emotions of what we were reading. I agree with much of she she said when one has young children, but if no one is interested as they all get older, if no one besides Mom would enjoy reading a book aloud together, then there is not much else one can do with that, at least until grandchildren come along. The Christian school where we used to live they did have moms and grandmothers come for class library times to read stories aloud for the elementary classes instead of the librarian always doing that.

I’m surprised she didn’t venture into other areas that could use dramatic talent. One family in a former church had a mom who was very dramatic, and she was frequently asked to take on a character for cantatas or dramatic productions at church, and she and various members of her family were involved in a local community theater: she was the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I think one of her daughters was Lucy, and the whole family as well as several church members enjoyed seeing them do that. I think of Little Women and the various plays they put on, little puppets, even finger puppets, that we used with our children, pretending their stuffed animals were speaking to them or acting something out, etc. At lot of their play involved acting our various scenarios: school, church, etc.

There are various ways to incorporate drama into family life, even for those of us who don’t necessarily have any latent dramatic longings such as she describes in the first few paragraphs. It can definitely be used for fun, but even reading the Bible aloud can and should be done, yet not overdone, with feeling rather than in a deadpan monotone.

So I did end up having my imagination sparked and getting more out of this chapter than I thought I would.