Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. & Ernestine Gibreth Carey

This book was extremely influential in my life. I don't know if it was the zeal for life that this family had or the way they taught and learned or the simple humor, but it is one I have read over and over and just finished reading to my boys. In this book you fall in love with the father. He is larger than life and full of energy, working up until the day he died and he did die at the very end of the book, leaving not only his family devastated but those who fell in love with him sad also. His life was built around saving time and avoiding "unnecessary delay". He made his children play language records in the bathroom, he drew constellations on his walls and taught the children Morse code by sending secret messages to them, coupled with prizes if they figured it out first. He loved a good joke, especially one on himself. He wanted nothing wasted. I love this quote from the end of the book. "Someone once asked Dad: But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?
For work, if you love that best, said Dad. For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure. He looked over the top of his pince-nez. For mumblety-peg, if that's where your heart lies."
I have found myself over the years looking for ways to save time and what do I do with it? I read, I work and most of all I spend time with family. This book will make your kids laugh out loud with the family stories it tells. My kids go around quoting from it all the time now, telling the family stories as if they were their own memories.