When I look around our home too often I see only the problems – things that need fixing, floors that need mopping, lawn that needs mowing and bills to pay, urgh! But I recently had a bit of an Aha! moment and I wondered, what if I stopped and saw our home afresh through the eyes of our children?
What do my children see?
After all, this place that we call home will leave an indelible imprint on their sense of self, forming an important part of who they are and how they live life. So I ask you, what do your children see when they look about your home, the place in which they live and grow? As I have been pondering this question I have started to change how I see and feel and think about our home. I don’t want my children to grow up seeing only issues and problems. I want to make an effort to be more intentional about our time at home together so that my children grow up with memories and a feeling about home being…
1. A place of fun and laughter
Now I am not suggesting that every moment of everyday life is going to be shiny and sparkly like that illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but I do want my girls to have an overall sense of life in our home being fun. Of laughter. Of silliness. Of grabbing a moment by the horns and running with it,
“Yes, you can run under the sprinkler! Yes, you can paint with your fingers! Yes, let’s make pancakes for afternoon tea!”
2. A place of welcome
This is one I struggle with daily as my home never feels as shiny and organised as those of so many of our friends. But I am trying hard to get over myself for the sake of my family, as I want my children to feel that they can invite friends into our home – I want our home to be a cool place to hang out as they grow into tweens and teens. I stick with the play dates and little friendship gatherings that suit us while our girls are small. I try to
not eat the keep a store of snacks and refreshments in the cupboard for those spontaneous moments when we have people visit. As a hostess I will never be the one with the mostess, much more a work in progress, but I remind myself that more important than freshly mopped floors and a spotless living room is warmness and friendliness. So that is my new goal, to intentionally make all who come into our home feel welcome and comfortable.
3. A place of less
I want my children to develop a sense of home that values the people within much more than the ‘stuff’ it contains. After all, it’s when the stuff gets out of control that causes me to struggle so much with #2 above. So I purge and I organize and we mess it all up again. Then I re-organise and I purge some more and we bring more in and I send more out. I’ve come to accept that this needs to be a continual process in our home! I am hoping that through being involved in this cycle my girls learn to let go of the ‘stuff,’ to love what you decide to keep and to be most proud of what you make with your own hands.
4. A place to nurture and be nurtured
As my children have grown through each age and stage our home has played such an important role in their growth and development – they have learnt to crawl and walk and talk and read within its very walls. My girl’s are learning that home is a place where they can feel confident to ask questions, to learn, to test and challenge oneself. That within its walls, they are safe when the world outside gets rough.
And it is at home that they are learning practical things about growing food, about cooking, about money and budgeting, about caring for one’s home with a sense of love for the people in it rather than the sense of duty that chores often evoke – the practicalities of living a happy, healthy life.
5. A place of refuge
I want our home to be a place of rest, where we can be still and quiet – together or alongside each other. To achieve this we need to spend time at home! To be less busy and not actually spend all of our time together out and about, or rushing around, or entertaining. We need ‘time out’ and home should be the safe place we to come to rest.
6. A place where you are heard
Home should be a place of connection. Where even when we disagree, everyone has a chance to speak, to be heard and to be understood. I believe the key to achieving this is being present in the moments that you spend at home, switching off technology and spending regular time together as a family. Your family might make the time to eat a regular meal together or you might have a special family time activity that you all enjoy together, whatever form it takes it is the joy and sense of belonging that stems from the repetition of these moments of family time that stays with children well into adulthood.
7. A place of love
More than anything I want my children to grow up with cherished memories of their home as a place of love. A place where they were hugged and kissed and tickled and held and told each day, “I love you.”
What do you hope your children grow to remember about your home?