September 2, 2015

What is the Hope Chest Journey?

Recently I have received inquiries asking:

* What is the Hope Chest Journey?
* Why is it of value?
* How do I take a Hope Chest Journey?

The Hope Chest Journey was once an institution or method of educating and preparing daughters for their future. A Hope Chest was not just a fancy box filled with pretty things for a young bride to use in decorating her new home.

Over the past seventy or so years, many have set aside this institution for a more narrow preparation focused on career education and leisure, an education that prepares one for a very limited life. Daughters will grow up and live more than just a career life (Monday through Friday, nine to five). Whether daughters marry and have a family or not, they will still need to be able to make wise decisions, manage resources wisely, care for themselves, care for where they live, be able to communicate well, develop diplomacy, grace and hospitality. Since many mothers did not experience a Hope Chest Journey with their mothers, taking the journey with their daughter can develop the knowledge and skill of both.

The Hope Chest Journey was a shared mother-daughter journey to prepare a daughter for life and to be the queen of her own home. The journey included learning tangible skills, gaining knowledge, developing talents, building mother-daughter relationships, service, and building a supportive community.The tangible skills such as sewing, quilting, needlework, gardening, cooking were often represented in the hope chest by items created for the future home or tools needed. Knowledge would sometimes be represented in the hope chest with a copy of a Family Bible to assure that the faith of the childhood home would be manifest in the home of the daughter. However, much of the knowledge gained was within the daughter, refined by her journey, and not in the box. Knowledge of Beauty and of Graces, such as femininity, comeliness, hospitality, rhythms of life, caring for one's home, rearing children, family psychology, home nursing, diplomacy, when to plant the garden, how to put food by (provident living skills), and so much more, was gained by working along side mother and the circle of other women in her life– grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and neighbors. Girls learned service as they helped mothers care for family, neighbors, and provide for others through charity baskets and other charitable endeavors. A supportive community was built as mothers and daughters gathered with other mothers, daughters, and women to quilt, contribute to bazaars, and make charity baskets. Talents were developed through the years of mother to daughter, woman to woman nurturing. As a circle of support, women helped women in childbirth, sickness, weddings of their children, and even in death. These were circles of support.

Today, we are recovering this lost art of taking the Hope Chest Journey. We encourage mothers to take this journey with their daughters. More than ever, today, mothers and daughters need the supportive community of other women, as well. It is through this larger circle that mothers and daughters can share and gain skills that may not have been passed on to them.  Within a circle there may be overlaps in knowledge, but there will also be women that know how to do something others in the circle do not know. Also, each woman has a circle of friends and contacts with other women who have developed skills that no one in the group has. These women from the broader circles would often be thrilled to share with those eager to learn. We call those circles– Lost Arts Circles.

We invite mothers and daughters to take the Hope Chest Journey and enjoy!

Our entire website and the resources in our store are dedicated to assisting mothers and daughters in taking the Hope Chest Journey and in creating their Lost Art Circle.