Teaching Children to Manage Money

 

Money doesn’t grow on trees but in Mississippi,

trees and many things that grow on them are used to make money. These two concepts may help parents teach their children the difference between putting a hand out or requesting a job to get the money to get the things they want?

Long before most children can add or subtract,

they are aware of money and the power it brings. They see how their parents use money to buy the things they want and they want some of that power. But, if left to their own devices, kids are likely to spend money like it grows on trees. So parents have a responsibility to teach kids about money, so they can meet their financial obligations now and learn to be good financial managers in their adult lives. It can be the difference between financial security and financial ruin.

Being a good role model helps but children learn better by doing.

Once they learn how money works, children often become fiscal conservatives. When they figure out they can buy the things they want with money, many children begin to hoard every nickel they can get their hands on. That’s OK. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Here are the most important things parents need to teach their children about how to handle their money. It’s important to start early, before kindergarten.

  • How to create a spending plan.

  • How to pay bills.

  • How to save money.

  • How to reduce expenses to meet goals.

  • How to earn more money.

Children must be taught to contribute to the household (because they live there) without expecting pay, by doing extra jobs or projects, such as doing yard work, sweeping the garage, babysitting for the neighbors, washing people’s cars all work to line their pockets. Later, they can get a part-time job to pay for a car or any other big ticket item.

What’s a Parent to Do?

Give them control of money. When kids have control of money, they have many chances to practice until they get it right with a little guidance and empathy from parents.

An allowance is a good first step. Consider starting with a small amount as soon as your child is old enough to understand the connection between money and purchases.

  • Sit down with each child and come up with a figure for the allowance based on his of her financial commitments. There may be boy or girl scout dues, lunch money, hair cuts, church collection, whatever you two agree upon.

  • Give the child that amount plus a little extra to do with as he or she pleases. That money is not tied to chores, is not threatened by your dissatisfaction with his or her behavior.

  • Give the allowance on the same day of the week, each week; like you get your pay check.

  • Have a no borrowing clause.

  • Provide a way for kids to earn extra money to handle their additional wants.

  • Go with the child and open a savings account in his or her name. Discuss how to make deposits and collect interest.

Make it clear to children that they are in charge of their money and you will have no part in managing it or supplementing their loses. Translation: If they spent their money unwisely and don’t have enough to meet their financial obligations, they’re out of luck. This is an important lesson to learn when financial obligations are small and easier to rectify.

Seeds planted early bear fruit later.

They’ll learn better habits on their own, by doing, and with advise and counsel from you. Let children make mistakes and learn from the consequences.  In turn, they learn why those mistakes were actually mistakes and what it takes to rectify them.

The life-long benefits of teaching children good money habits are well worth the effort.

 

© Rachell N. Anderson, Psy. D. 

Dr. Rachell Anderson is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a private Clinical in Springfield for more that 40 years. She lives in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles.

 

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Southern Food Furniture; The Sugar Chest (Part III)

Alternative Forms

As already indicated, the sugar chest was not limited to one design. While most all were constructed around a single bin or series of such bins, the presentation took many unique characteristics. The most common and best known is the divided box set upon a frame, the earliest of which transitioned from the blanket chest, followed by a more sophisticated variance of the cellaret, both forms being carried westward from Virginia and the Carolinas into Kentucky and Tennessee where both styles would persist. The Federal slant front desk, so popular throughout the Shenandoah Valley, would be redesigned in Kentucky’s inner Bluegrass as a sugar desk by the time of the next war with Englandxxii. Such a form served multiple uses, as it could function as a working desk, while beneath the writing surface was located the bin for storage of sugar. Drawers below allowed for the keeping of sugar nippers, spices, and perhaps even linens for the dining room. This extra storage was especially possible in the lesser seen sugar bureau and sugar press. These oddities mimicked larger pieces of furniture by adding extra storage capacity and utility to the basic sugar chest. Less formal were the sugar tables, which provided a work surface in the kitchen with storage capability for sugar. A close relation, but more refined, was the sugar chest modeled after the better known Southern hunt board. These had a combination of drawers and bins with false drawer fronts, accessed by lifting a hinged section of the top board. These may also have served as mixing tables for drinks. Another scarce form of sugar chest is the smallest of practical sizes. While true miniatures and children’s toy sizes (likely cabinet makers’ samples) are known, the least studied are the portable sugar boxes. More plentiful in East Tennessee, these are found as well in Central Kentucky. Just as the cellaret came in a modified traveling size, the sugar chest was also shrunk down to a portable box, compact enough to be kept on the sideboard to lock away cut sugar within easy access of the dining table. As sugar came in large cones, it was convenient to cut the sugar ahead of time and lock away the coin silver sugar bowl in addition to the cones themselvesxxiii.

Whatever the style or state of origin, the sugar chest is a distinctly American and uniquely Southern form that today symbolizes for many an entire culture swept away by a war that shapes our nation to this day. Our current fascination with the sugar chest and similar regional relics was best explained by one of the South’s most beloved advocates many decades ago. To quote Kentucky historian Dr. Thomas D. Clark as he wrote for the 1947

Kentucky issue of “The Magazine Antiques,”

“In this worship of the traditional, relics and mementoes have been preserved, but few families have been vitally concerned with keeping an important manuscript record of the past. Things, rather than records,… have always been marks of distinction….Thus a complex mixture of environmental and sectional influences have shaped the lives and culture of the Kentucky people. They have preserved the main frontier characteristic of individualism, and their provincial natures have enabled them to cling steadfastly to the old ways in many of their customs. In the popular mind the old days were the best. It is impossible for the modern individual to recapture the full spirit of those earlier days so that it may be intermingled with a modern and even more complex society, but it is possible to cling tenaciously to the symbols of the earlier period. History has been important to Kentuckians. Few places in the country have given more time to the study of local history, or made it the basis for a greater local pride. The individual Kentuckian has concerned himself not too much with the full social and contemporary implications of history, but rather with its sweet and nostalgic overtones. To him its mixtures of tradition and obscurity have been sources of personal dignity.”

xxii Scott County, KY Will Books A-B, John Stites Estate February 24th, 1812 references the sale of his “sugar desk” to R. M. Gano for $5.75.

xxiii Author’s collection- a walnut sugar box on four turned legs, Fayette County, Ky origin measuring not quite 17” in height

Gary Dean Gardner is an independent scholar of Southern history & material culture.  A native 10th generation Kentuckian, his maternal roots stretch to Fort Harrod, the first permanent American settlement in the state, where nearby his family established the first congregation of Methodists in 1783, while his father’s family, Tidewater descendants of Pocahontas, includes Virginia’s first native-born historian, Robert Beverley.  Gardner was immersed in history from childhood, early developing an hereditary passion for silver shared by his 8th great grandfather, legendary Virginia planter and Colonial America’s first silver collector, William Fitzhugh.  This genetic collecting desire led to a 30-year study and scholarship in the field of early Southern silver and silversmiths, which soon extended itself to an interest in early Southern cabinetry, stoneware, portraiture, and other affiliated regional decorative arts.  Mr. Gardner is dedicated as well to the study of antebellum African-American arts, history and culture having identified and explored the careers of many enslaved artisans.  Busy helping raise a next generation of family collectors, Gardner continues to explore, write, and speak regionally on Southern antiques and their makers.  

Southern Food Furniture; the Sugar Chest (Part II

PART II (Read Part I)

Earliest American Origins

It is not surprising that a region which still prefers sugar in it vegetables would inspire a furniture form specifically for the storage of that sweet commodity. Perhaps because it is so symbolic of the Southern antebellum home, there has arisen controversy over the true origins of the sugar chest. Early attributions were to both Kentucky and Tennessee, alone and in combination, but further research would indicate an origin in Virginia and the Carolinas. It has been hypothesized that the sugar chest emerged as a metamorphosis of the cellaret or bottle case on stand just as sugar production came to the forefront in Louisiana about 1805. That might be so if referencing only this “classic” sugar chest form we most commonly think of, but this isn’t quite true for the chest altogether, for the earliest types of sugar chests documented seem to have been crafted just inland from coastal Virginia and North Carolinaiii ca. 1750, with references to their use in Virginia dating back to at least that periodiv. In essence, the sugar chest did emerge about the same time sugar came to Louisiana, just much earlier than scholars had once assumed. Sadly, very few sugar chests have retained their full and accurate provenance to such an early period in these two states. Estate inventories, however, prove the continued use of the form for many generations well into the 19th century, primarily in Virginia.

The Virginia Prototype

Article Sugar Chest Williamson County TN8By the middle of the 18th century, the term “sugar chest” seems to have become part of the established vernacularv in Virginia, so it must be assumed that settlers pouring into Kentucky and Tennessee by the 1790svi were already well aware of the wordageviithus the continuation of the term’s use in estate settlement documents of the first years of the 19th century. These “alpha” prototypes of the 18th century followed closely the construction of blanket chests, though generally of a greater capacity and height. They were little more than enlarged blanket boxes with a divided interior to store white and brown sugar & molasses and perhaps coffee, with their sole decorative value derived from their beautifully grained walnut lumberviii from the old growth forests of Virginia. The best boasted simple but elegantly carved cabriole legs, then in vogue, but not with the elegant addition of ball and claw carvings.

These very earliest of sugar chests thus far discoveredix, rather surprisingly, display no real vestigial links to the equally famed Southern cellaret as might be expected. Though the cellaret seems to pre-date the sugar chest in its use in the South by a few decades, it was actually the pattern for the next, and most prolific, generation of the sugar chest that would appear with the dawn of the 19th century. It takes no stretch of the imagination to see that the cabinetmakers of the day would have made simple improvisational adaptations upon the cellaret, then becoming increasingly popular throughout Virginia in the Hepplewhite stylex This makes sense, for by the close of the 18th century, in that period of advancing Louisiana production, sugar was becoming more of a luxury commodity, just as wealth was increasing in the upper South. As such, those earliest utilitarian forms of sugar storage were being replaced by the classical, sophisticated lines borrowed from the Hepplewhite cellaret complete with inlay ornamentation worthy of display in the owner’s finest roomsxi. It was a natural progression to take the general layout of the divided interior meant for the storage of wine bottles and exaggerate it to establish a pattern for the form that would thence forth be utilized for sugar storage until the War Between the States throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, and forever afterwards symbolize that mythic era of antebellum culture for the region as a whole.

Sugar Chests here, there, everywhere?

Article Sugar Chest Miniature Kentucky Sideboard Form6One would be hard pressed to conclude that the Deep South was void of sugar chests, but since the need was never prevalent, the surviving examples fail to be abundant, at least not to an extent they can be easily identified and studied. Several Mississippi sugar chests are known to have Kentucky and Tennessee origins. Examples continue to surface in Alabamaxii, but sound provenance is seldom available to show these were actually made in that state and not simply transported there with the large scale migration to the “Black Belt” region from throughout Tennessee. To date, little reference to sugar chests has been documented from the northern most limits of Georgiaxiii or South Carolinaxiv, but surely some variation was utilized in the inland plantationsxv. While ships could provide sugar to the coastal cities at a cost far reduced from that paid in the Southern “Upcountry,” some form of the sugar chest must have been crafted at some point in the large-scale plantations of the state where they still required the bulk storage of sweets. A very crude sugar table consisting of a safe-like cupboard base with a round table top may solve that puzzle, as a few such examples of this form have surfaced with ties to the Palmetto State. A similar table-like sugar safe has been documented to southern Louisiana. In their simplicity, these Coastal sugar tables of the early 19th century were a throw-back to the very first basic sugar chests that applied function before form.

Going back to the basic question of attribution of origin and the misconception that all sugar chests are from Kentucky or Tennessee, one must understand the economics of the sugar trade to understand why the chest was so important in these two states in comparison to the rest of the South. With the advent of trade by the steamboats, improved roads, & the beginnings of rail travel, all combined with increased efficiency and output in Louisiana’s sugar industry, costs for the commodity droppedxvi throughout most of the South by the 2nd quarter of the nineteenth centuryxvii, then marking a rise again as the 1850s progressed. Commission, or venture, merchants like Jackson, Riddle, & Co. of Philadelphiaxviii contracted with both Louisiana and Mississippi sugar plantations and northern iron manufacturers during the 1830s to swap commodities for goods, and ship both to the remote settlements of the inland South. It was only in this still isolated interior of the region, in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the western portions of Virginia and N. Carolina (and perhaps north Alabama) that a need for the sugar chest did linger. While costs for sugar still necessitated the use of the chest throughout the 1820s, by the 1840s its use in Kentucky and Tennessee was more due to tradition than to need, but ingrained enough in the local society it was still considered an important household assetxix. Because the sugar chest became outdated along the coast so early on with decreased sugar costs, and lingered in the back country for so many decades, we tend to think today that it was a Kentucky or Tennessee innovation. It did, however, reach its peak popularity in those two states due mainly to its extended lifespan there. This may have partially been due as well to a spike in sugar costs, which reached an antebellum record in 1858xx. A survey of central Kentucky and Middle Tennessee estate inventories would verify the continued use of the sugar chest into the 1860s, likely due to that sharp rise in prices that would have affected this region of the upper South more than any other.

Besides migrating south, sugar chests were also carried north by 19th century farmers who retained the pioneer spirit of their ancestors and kept moving in search of cheaper land and better opportunities. Some Kentuckians and Tennesseans never moved, but speculated on lands in the Midwest and set up homes there, sometimes relocating agents or overseers. Either way, furniture from the upper South made its way early on to states like Ohio, Illinois or Indiana, causing many fine sugar chests to lose their true regional identities forever.xxi

 

Gary Dean Gardner is an independent scholar of Southern history & material culture.  A native 10th generation Kentuckian, his maternal roots stretch to Fort Harrod, the first permanent American settlement in the state, where nearby his family established the first congregation of Methodists in 1783, while his father’s family, Tidewater descendants of Pocahontas, includes Virginia’s first native-born historian, Robert Beverley.  Gardner was immersed in history from childhood, early developing an hereditary passion for silver shared by his 8th great grandfather, legendary Virginia planter and Colonial America’s first silver collector, William Fitzhugh.  This genetic collecting desire led to a 30-year study and scholarship in the field of early Southern silver and silversmiths, which soon extended itself to an interest in early Southern cabinetry, stoneware, portraiture, and other affiliated regional decorative arts.  Mr. Gardner is dedicated as well to the study of antebellum African-American arts, history and culture having identified and explored the careers of many enslaved artisans.  Busy helping raise a next generation of family collectors, Gardner continues to explore, write, and speak regionally on Southern antiques and their makers.  

All images in Part I and II courtesy of John Case Auctions, Knoxville, TN 

Footnotes:

iii At least one sugar chest, in desk form and in a vernacular Chippendale styling, is known to the author. This walnut sugar desk of ca. 178-90 retains a long provenance to the Bluegrass of Kentucky back to the 1820s, but from a family who had migrated from the Carolinas. Its holly inlay use and yellow pine secondary wood indicate that this was a prized possession brought with the family through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky from North Carolina. Such an example reinforces the conjecture that not only styles, but examples of cabinets which would later be copied, were carried westward into the far reaches of the “Back Country” South.

iv Likely one of the first period references to the term “sugar chest” is found in the ledgers of the “Partridge Store” which served planters in the Hanover and Louisa County, Virginia area throughout the 2nd quarter of the 18th century. Their surviving ledgers for 1756, in the account for William Hendrick (son of William Sr. of Amelia County who died ca. 1739) of that year, show among his 28 purchases that year ten hoes, 12 plates, a woman’s cloak, a fan, a sugar chest and lock, and a set of teaware.

v York County, Virginia May 16th, 1763, the inventory of estate of Samuel Tompkins includes a “sugar chest”. Colonial Williamsburg files

vi CWFL film M-1060.2 James Anderson Accounts, 1778-1799, Ledger c, p. 11 references the work of the Williamsburg, Virginia blacksmith in “mending sugar chest” for his neighbor Dr. Barraud.

vii Estate inventories from prior to1800 are scant anyway, but the use of the term “sugar chest” seems to occur on a regular basis in Kentucky and Tennessee sometime prior to 1810. Anne S. McPherson, in her article An Abode of Sweetness, the Sugar Chest and Sugar Box, cites an early reference to the use in the January 1805 inventory of Thomas Bedford, Rutherford County, TN Wills & Inventories, Book 2, page 2.

viii This early Virginia form would linger primarily in south central Kentucky well into the 1840s, while the inner Bluegrass Region as well as Middle Tennessee would transition to a form based upon the cellaret.

ix Sandra Crowther collection, Lynchburg Va.- lower Tidewater origin in the Queen Anne style ca. 1750-60

x Paul H. Burroughs in his classic 1931 reference Southern Antiques, references a cellaret of North Carolina origin which he dates to ca. 1690-1700, as well as Queen Anne versions from both North and South Carolina from the 1720’s on.

xi Inlaid sugar chests are virtually unknown outside of Tennessee and Kentucky, with considerable scarcity even from Tennessee. The lack of such sophisticated ornamentation cannot, however, be the sole determination of status or wealth of the original owners. Some of the finest plantation homes of Middle Tennessee, as surveyed in Williamson County, boasted very simple sugar chests in their dining rooms. Reference Rick Warwick’s Williamson County: More Than a Good Place to Live, 2005.

xii There has been documented a Chippendale variety from ca. 1780 sitting low to the ground with fine ogee feet which surfaced in Alabama with a Tennessee provenance though, as with many early Tennessee antiques, it likely was brought into the state from North Carolina.

xiii The historic “Bobo House” in Union County, South Carolina displays a sugar chest, but it retains a provenance of having been brought by the family to SC at the turn of the 18th century from Baltimore.

xiv Will Book- Oglethorpe County, Georgia July 24th, 1868, “I, Mary Ann Black, being of sound and disposing mind and memory do make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other wills by me before made. Item 1st I give and bequest unto Charles Filmore Sanders son of William J. Sanders my bed that I now sleep on and the furniture with it and one small chest known as my sugar chest, and one small round trunk.”

xv An Upson County, GA sugar chest of poplar & yellow pine from ca. 1840-60 resided in the collection of William & Florence Griffin. See Neat Pieces- the Plain Style Furniture of 19th Century Georgia, #81.

xvi See California Digital Library “Sugar and Origins of Modern Philippine Society” for an interesting overview of “global” sugar economies as they impacted one small agrarian island nation

xvii Parrelling the dropping cost of sugar, the sugar chest in the estate inventories of the mid-19th century reflect a serious devaluation. Period auction prices referenced include the following: Bullitt Co. Ky Will Book D- Richard Brashear estate March 17th 1851, “A sugar chest was sold to “Old Lady”/Widow Sarah for .75 cents”; Garrard Co. Ky Order Book P. pgs 436-37 Emanual Higginbotham estate, to “Martha Baugh 1 sugar chest and little wheel $1.90”; Barren Co. Ky Inventory Book 6:355 John King estate Dec. 2nd, 1851, to “Thomas king, sugar chest $4.60”; Washington Co. Ky Will Book J-601 J T Jarboe estate December 4th 1856, to “Mahala Jarboe one sugar chest $1.00”

xvii For details on the trade practices of this firm, references their records in the following collections: Southard Papers, Princeton Library, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, and “Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations” in the Southern Historical Collection, University of NC-Chapel Hill

xix Reference Scott County, Ky mortgage book pates 17-18, and indenture between James Moore and William Moore conveying in exchange for previously mortgaged debt by the Branch Bank of Kentucky a tract of “100 acres on Lane’s run and …the following Negro slaves to wit: Nancy, Jane, Tom, Lucinda, George, Harvey, John, Henry, also twelve head of horses, one cart & yoke of oxen, six head of cattle, sixteen head of stock hogs, six head of sheep, twenty barrels of corn, three beds, bedstands, and furniture, two bureaus, one sugar chest, and one clock & about 12 acres of hemp unbroken.” 2/25/1843

xx Louisiana State Museum, “A Medley of Cultures”, Hickman-Bryan Papers, the University of Missouri, Louisiana History Timeline, Louisiana Educational Television, John Gurley Papers, Louisiana State University (after the war, prices plunged to .25 cents a pound- Charles T. Daggs letter 2/11/1866)

xxi Clark County, Ohio Will Book- will of John Winn (of Springfield) to his wife Hosea Ballou Winn “ my carriage and harness, all my farming utensils, my brass clock, my silver plate, the whole of my household of kitchen furniture, including my secretary, bookcase of books, desk, beer can, sugar chest, beds of furniture” Per “A Lineage & Brief History of the Rawlings Family” Urbana Ohio 1931, “John Winn was a Virginian by birth, and that he emigrated to Fleming County, Kentucky about the year 1796. This account says that “He came to Kentucky from Virginia in an ox cart with no property save a Negro boy and his cattle.” When he came to Ohio, a free state, he freed all his slaves and gave his name as security for their good behaviour.” Purnell short was born 9/29/1779 in Scott County, Kentucky. He migrated to Greene County Illinois by ox team in the fall of 1833 and settled south of Carrollton, Illinois, dying 2/14/1851. From the Greene Co., Ill. Record Book C-346, “For a consideration of $37.00 on March 15, 1832, Purnell Short apparently took a chattel mortgage from James Self on one waton and gears, one bay mare and sorrel mare with one eye, one sorrel horse, two beds and bedding, a table and candlestand, one sugar chest, a cupboard and other household goods for 35 acres of land valued at $67.62.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Food Furniture; the Sugar Chest (Part I)

Part 1

From the earliest Colonial period,

Southern social activity has been linked to the preparation and sharing of food, with the climax of any important Southern occasion being based upon the enjoyment of good food and good company. Having such an emphasis on food in our lives, it comes as little surprise that our ancestors crafted special furniture just for the presentation and/or preservation of food.

Few forms in American furniture are truly unique.

Article Sugar Chest Kentucky3Even the Democratic stability of the young United States as was manifested in wood during the Federal period is based heavily upon the classicism in French styles of the late 18th century. The French in turn had borrowed from the Greeks and Romans long before. Americans of the early 19th century as a whole seemed to be struggling so in creating an identity that there was little originality in furniture function and form. In the American South, however, we find a long established agrarian culture with multi-generational webs of common ancestry that, while far from homogeneous, encouraged a comparable social structure within the majority of the 13 states which formed the region. This cultural basis bound these states together, allowing an early individualized sense of expression to develop in the decorative arts which directly influenced unique furniture adaptations. Function, not fashion alone, began to demand form, and as the planter culture started to set itself apart from its northern neighbors, a distinct separation can be noted in furniture production north to south.

Dismissing fictionalized “Gone with the Wind” accounts of plantation life,

Article Sugar Chest Middle TN5we know that the planter class worked hard to tame their acres and cultivate their rich, overgrown lands as pioneers transformed themselves into landed gentry, modeling their American identities on the English system of class they initially wished to replicate. These early generations had little time for pretensioni, yet they demanded festive interaction and revelry with their peers, in social opposition to the Puritans of New England. Their homes were large, to accommodate big families both black and white, but just as the “plantation” houses were designed to be used, so their furnishings had to meet the same demands. With the exception of the coastal cities, imported and custom-made furniture (from England or the northeast) was a luxury during the colonial period and early 19th century prior to the establishment of large scale furniture factories in Philadelphia and later Cincinnati, which shipped heavily downriver with improvements in the steamboat and navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. While beauty may have been desired by Southerners to imitate that of nature so abundant all around them, use was of most importance to the colonial Southern planter. In this light we can better understand the unique regional furniture forms that developed, inclusive of the slab or hunt board and biscuit rock, incorporating both utility and design. Cabinetry had to be strong for endurance, meeting the multiple needs of the plantation family, and yet reflecting some sense of the owner’s position and expanding wealth.

Sugar Comes to Dixie

The uniquely “Southern” furniture forms that emerged certainly met these criteria. Examples tended to develop in pockets, with close “cousins” throughout various sectors and along established inland trade routes. This is quite true of the sugar chest. For the novice, the sugar chest was specifically designed to store sugar in bulk. Unlike a meal chest, which might have been delegated to the meat house or kitchen and thus removed from the primary residence altogether, sugar was so valuable to the plantation household that it was kept under lock and key in the dining room. The high cost of sugar resulted from the fact that semi-tropical Louisiana was virtually the sole annual source for sugar and its distribution in the U.S. prior to the War Between the States, thanks in part to the Jesuit priests who had brought the sugar cane to that state in 1751. The first sugar mill was established later that same decade by Claude-Joseph Dubreuil de Villars. Creole planter/scientist Jean Etienne de Bore developed the process to granulate sugar around 1794, attaining success with a $12,000 sugar crop in 1795. By 1796, there were 10 sugar refineries in Louisiana. Shipped in hogsheads of about 1000 pounds each, of which only 5000 such barrels were produced in 1802ii, supply was greatly outweighed by demand. It wasn’t until the advent of improved production methods and the increased importation of slaves into Louisiana, as well as efficient commercial steamboats and the charting and clearing of navigable inland waterways, that sugar could make its way to the upper South at a more reasonable cost. Ironically, it was a free man of color, New Orleans native scientist and engineer Norbert Rillieux, who developed more efficient techniques in evaporating sugar cane juice by a vacuum pan method for the refining of sugar, and thus aided America’s most slave dependent industry.

COMING – PART 2

Gary Dean Gardner, Independent Scholar of Southern History & Material Culture

Gary Dean Gardner is an independent scholar of Southern history & material culture.  A native 10th generation Kentuckian, his maternal roots stretch to Fort Harrod, the first permanent American settlement in the state, where nearby his family established the first congregation of Methodists in 1783, while his father’s family, Tidewater descendants of Pocahontas, includes Virginia’s first native-born historian, Robert Beverley.  Gardner was immersed in history from childhood, early developing an hereditary passion for silver shared by his 8th great grandfather, legendary Virginia planter and Colonial America’s first silver collector, William Fitzhugh.  This genetic collecting desire led to a 30-year study and scholarship in the field of early Southern silver and silversmiths, which soon extended itself to an interest in early Southern cabinetry, stoneware, portraiture, and other affiliated regional decorative arts.  Mr. Gardner is dedicated as well to the study of antebellum African-American arts, history and culture having identified and explored the careers of many enslaved artisans.  Busy helping raise a next generation of family collectors, Gardner continues to explore, write, and speak regionally on Southern antiques and their makers.

All images in Part I and II courtesy of John Case Auctions, Knoxville, TN.

FOOTNOTES:

i Wealth and leisure came early to the coastal South, primarily to Charleston and Tidewater Virginia. The author defers all respect to his Fitzhugh, Randolph, Bland and Byrd ancestors who were the exceptions to the rule for most Southern society.

ii One of the best works on agrarian economy in antebellum Louisiana, courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum, “A Medley of Cultures.”

 

Why Are Today’s Kids So Unhappy?

 

Nearly every generation has decried the actions of the ones that followed.

It’s no different today. Every where I go, I hear people asking “What’s wrong with these kids, today?”

What defines proper child-rearing has long been a touchy subject. Some parents want to be thought of as their children’s best friends. Some want to buffer every fall and pick up the pieces when things go wrong. Others want to make sure the child has every opportunity with no chance for slight, discomfort, disappointment or anxiety. Some parents are harsh, critical, hostile, and demeaning toward their children. Still other parents work tirelessly to put food on the table and clothes on their children’s backs and are happy when they can give then a small trinket for Christmas or a holiday.

Meanwhile, according to the American Medical association,

mental disorders,(mostly depression) are the leading disability in our children. Indeed, 25 percent of US children in general and 8.3 percent of teenagers in particular are reported to be suffering from depression; many more than in any previous decade. Depression in children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk of suicide, which is now the third leading cause of death in young people between the ages of ten and twenty-four. Something must be terribly wrong.

Many people have speculated about what is making America’s kids so unhappy:

a breakdown in family and community relationships; the rise of technology and increased academic stakes and competition; inequality and rising poverty rates. Some claim parents do too much for their kids while others point to parents who leave kids alone and unsupervised. Still others claim that parents don’t know how give enough love, care and direction. Some claim parents are too permissive. You get the point.

Say what you will, most parents want their children to be happy and successful.

And, most do what they know to make that happen. However, what it means to be happy and successful has become been a moving target. Some believe it’s not enough to be happy if you can be happier.

Then, as long as they are blaming parents they may as well blame child rearing professionals, those who give advise to parents. The whole business of child-rearing has also been a moving target. At some point we began worrying about our children’s self esteem rather than their self worth so that even the friendly tee-ball game has lost it’s competitive edge and to build self esteem, every child who played got a trophy.

According to Paul Bohn, a psychiatrist at UCLA,

“The irony is that measures of self-esteem are poor predictors of how content a person will be, especially if the self-esteem comes from constant accommodation and praise rather than earned accomplishment.” Self esteem is a poor predictor of happiness especially if kids become narcissistic and think of themselves as the center of the universe. When parents are constantly telling their children how special and talented they are, it gives them an inflated view of their abilities. Research shows that much better predictors of happiness and success are perseverance, resiliency, and the ability to gage what life is like in the real world.

Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory at Swarthmore College

stated that, “Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing. But happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.” Could it be that by protecting our kids from unhappiness as children, we’re robbing them of the opportunity to persevere. Kids who always have problems solved for them don’t learn to solve problems when the problems are small and the consequences are less damaging.

Life can be difficult for all of us. Still, no child can expect to enjoy a fulfilling life if his or her days are overwhelmed with feelings of fear, frustration, anger, resentment, or other powerful emotions that turn what should be a special time of life into one of gloom and sadness. There has to be something in-between that works.

While no one can condone the actions of Joan Crawford as Momma Dearest or be able to meet the devotion of June Cleaver, most psychologists uphold the idea of the good-enough parent.

What’s a Person To Do?

  • Allow your children to develop what Dr. Dan Kindlon called Psychological Immunity which includes:(among other traits,) Positive Thinking, Self Control, Creativity, Desire to grow and challenge, Ability to solve problems, Goal Orientation, impulse, emotional and irritability Control.

  • Do nothing for your children that they can possibly do for themselves. Whether it’s learning to tie shoes or overcome a broken heart. Lovingly teach them the skills and allow them to struggle with the task until they have learned to do it well.

  • Allow children to solve their own problems while you serve as a sounding board for reality testing. It’s OK to fail as long as the child keeps trying.

  • Remember: If kids can’t experience painful feelings, they are likely to develop what Dr. Kindlon called “discomfort with discomfort.” This will deprive them of happiness as adults.

© Dr. Rachell N. Anderson, April 7, 2016

 

Dr. Rachell N. Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books.

 

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