When Mrs. Schaeffer first wrote The Hidden Art of Homemaking, segregation and integration were big items in the news. I think her take on it is very refreshing.
She starts the chapter by quoting two Bible passages:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Revelation 7:9-10
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14
She then shows how someday we will all be one in heaven. There will be no differences amongst us. We will all have arrived the same way – through the blood of the Lamb. We will all sing one song. It will be perfect integration.
Then she speaks about how the disciples were acting as though adult listeners of Jesus were more important than the children, but Jesus showed that all are important.
But what does all of this have to do with homemaking and creative living? Here is part of Mrs. Schaeffer’s answer
True integration is a matter of people really feeling a oneness with others and attempting to understand them in personal communication of the sort that takes place around fireplaces, washing dishes together, having tea together, eating together, walking together, and discovering things in common together.
We should not exclude little ones from a supper conversation. They have a viewpoint that should not be ignored. Siblings and cousins of various ages can make the best friends and play mates. I love to see my children all enjoying an activity together from the 17-year-old down to the 3-year-old.
A grandfather can relate a memory, and a teenager can tell how that affects him. Or a ten-year-old can talk about an experience they had that day which an older family member can respond to. Families should work at having times to talk where everyone’s opinion is welcomed and valued.
So much of society is divided today along the lines of peers so that people are kept from mingling with others outside of a certain set. Mrs. Schaeffer says:
The family should be the place where an opposite trend is begun. Families ought to spend more time finding out how much fun it is to do things with a variety of ages, each contributing his or her originality and creative talent to the whole. The exchange would give a far wider understanding of life and people, and the present moment of history…The tight little segregated life, always spend with people of your own age, economic group, educational background and culture tends to bring an ingrown, static sort of condition. Fresh ideas, reality of communication and shared experiences will be sparks to light up fires of creativity, especially if the people spending time together are a true cross-section of ages, nationalities, kindreds and tongues.
There is definitely an “art” to bringing together people of various ages, ethnicity, economics, etc., but it is an art well-worth cultivating and will enrich your life.