Laddie is one of my favorite books. I love the strong characters and the good values and principles that are expressed by the author. But, I think the thing that impressed me most in my reading this time, was the contrast between the Stantons and the Pryors.
Mr. Stanton was a loving father. He spent time with each of his children. He helped them study and shared his passions with them. He was a wonderful husband. He loved his wife immensely and treated her with the greatest respect. He was respected by his neighbors and went out of his way to help them. He focused on serving others and making his community better. He valued education and shared his knowledge with his family and the community. He faithfully attended and served in his church. He had strong faith in God and prayed often. He was a great leader and remained calm in the face of conflict and struggles. He focused on beauty and making the world a better place, especially his farm. Mr. Stanton was a great man.
Mr. Pryor was well educated. He had great knowledge, but kept himself at a distance from others. Prestige and having a high place in society were his goals. Having a “title” was more important than “being” a good citizen. He loved children and was kind to Little Sister, but he wasn’t a particularly loving father. He placed the opinions of others above his love for his family. He loved his wife, but did not respect her opinions or treat her well. He was angry and bitter and quick to loose his temper. He believed in God, but abandoned his faith when faced with trials and struggles. Instead of asking God for help, he blamed God and refused to forgive. Mr. Pryor had the potential to be a great man, but he was not.
Mrs. Stanton worked hard to provide for her family. She loved her children and spent many hours teaching them and guiding them. She was a loving wife and completely devoted to her husband. She had great faith in God and often prayed. She truly loved others and would open her home to anyone in need. She helped all of her neighbors, even those who were difficult to love. She shared the knowledge she had with others and encouraged them to improve themselves. She loved beauty and worked hard to make her home a loving place. She was brave and strong and willing to protect her home and family. She stood up for what was right and was a great example to others. Mrs. Stanton was a “good woman.”
Mrs. Pryor was a kind woman. She loved her children. She believed in God, but did not have great faith. She loved her husband, but was not a helpmeet. She was very concerned with appearances. She was weak and full of fear. She did not have the courage to stand up for what was right. She let her emotions dominate her behavior. She hid from her problems and refused the help of others. Mrs. Pryor had grace, but was neither a “lady” nor a “good woman.”
The greatest contrast I see in these families is faith. The Stantons had great faith. They relied on God and made Him a part of their daily lives. When they were faced with trials and tribulations, they prayed. They didn’t try to solve the problem by themselves; they turned to God. The Pryors had weak faith. God was not part of their lives. They did not pray; they blamed God instead.
What a difference God makes! God can take an ordinary man and make him great. He can take a lady and make her a good woman. With God all things are possible. I choose to have faith. As for me and my house, we will serve the lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Gene Stratton Porter, Laddie: A True Blue Story (California: Norilana Books, 2007) p. 292
 ibid. p. 290, 292