Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Harriet Oleson: Overcoming Pride

Katherine MacGregor played Harriet Oleson on Michael Landon’s “Little House on the Prarie” No character in all of Walnut Grove was as prideful and full of herself as much as Harriet Oleson – though daughter Nellie came close and was replaced by an even nastier Nancy, who may have succeeded in presenting herself as more superior than even Harriet (who had actually softened up somewhat in later episodes)

Unfortunately all of us know “Harriet Olesons” We go to Church with them.  We listen to their snideful comments about those they refer to as “sinners” and watch them attempt to put themselves on a pedestal by putting others down.  It seems the harder they try to discriminate and sway others to believe the same way as they do – the less desireable they are at passing off themselves. 

Why is it that Harriet Oleson believes she is so superior to every single person?  Does she also feel that she is more superior to God, himself? Because there is no way that prideful of a person would ever recognize the Savior if He were standing in front of her. In a literal sense, I mean.  For it is quite obvious that the Mrs. Olsen’s of this world have missed the boat figuratively.

How can someone who is so feared and obviously NOT respected by others believe that she’s so great?  Greatness is measured by the admiration and the respect from others – not by blowing one’s own horn. And certainly not by putting others down and stepping over them in a vain attempt to reach an unachievable goal.

I used to be a Harriet Oleson.  (At least I hope it’s in the past). I know I’m not perfect – but I don’t think I’m so high and mighty that I can’t benefit from my interaction with others.  I know that I have been a snob in the past.  Gosh, I hope I’ve improved.  Still far from being humble, but at least I’ve learned acceptance.  At least I know now how to defend.

The theme in our last stake (geographical boundary) conference was on love and service.  To love and serve ALL people regardless of their mental state, appearance, background and so forth.  We are all people.  We are all children of our Heavenly Father. It’s high time we shed our “Harriet Oleson” personalities.  But then they are a part of ALL people and may need love even more than the ones that they try to discriminate.  And that is a tough challenge – loving the prideful.  The ones we don’t believe will ever change.

I think the thing that is most mind boggling to me is how in the world did she end up with somebody like Nels in the first place?  And what made him stay with her for all those years?

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