Author Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy is an extremely talented journalist whose work appears in The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers and websites. Her recent memoir, Many Hands Make Light Work, is a wonderful addition to the genre and I found it to be a wonderfully written and entertaining book.
The author’s story is an uplifting recounting of her days growing up in Ames, Iowa as the sixth child in a family with nine children. Her father’s motto – Many Hands Make Light Work- served as one of the guiding principles in the family. The family lived with a strong faith in God and while there was always work to be done it was the basis for living a full and positive life.
Thanks to JKS Communications for the following question and answers.
The cover of “Many Hands Make Light Work” includes a photo of your parents dancing in the living room. With a career, a business, nine children, and numerous college students, how did they find time for joy?
Children aren’t all little at once. Older ones help with the younger. In “Many Hands,” you see how our parents set up the house so we could help ourselves and the group. They installed a drinking fountain so even little kids could get a drink on their own. They lived the title: many hands indeed made light work.
In “Many Hands Make Light Work,” you kids renovated houses to rent to college students. You all sang on the job, like a von Trapp family in painters caps! How did your parents get that kind of cooperation from teenagers?
Our parents had zero ambivalence about having us work. They’d grown up working on family farms. They thought it was healthy training for life. We learned complaining didn’t get results. We were going to work anyway, like it or not. Might as well like it, and we liked harmonizing to pop songs.
For decades, your family welcomed strangers into their home, to live, eat, and study with you. They are champions of diversity and inclusion, long before such concepts became cultural flashpoints. How did your
household, repeatedly absorbing people of vastly different nationalities and religions, remain harmonious?
Expectations. My parents expected their children and college-student boarders to be friendly and open-hearted. We thought everyone who came to live with us would be like our brothers and sisters; our college students felt that and responded in kind. One example: we never locked
doors, and had no theft in the 27 years college students lived with us.
What is your relationship like with your family now?
I feel crazy lucky to have my siblings and their families in my life. They’re a gift.
Cheryl’s book can be purchased many places including Amazon (link) You can check out more about Cheryl by going to her website here. If you would like to read my review of her book please feel free to click on my Goodreads link here to go directly to my review.
Special thanks to JKS Communications for providing me a free copy for review purposes.
Please come back to the blog on September 1st to see what our new Comments for a Cause will be. Can’t wait to share our results for Find Your Anchor and reveal our new cause.