I have been thinking a lot lately about how to make my home a place where my children want to be. More than that… a place where I am strategically and purposefully, shaping and growing their character and spirit. They are 11,9,5 and 4 and they still want/have to be here and I am still their world and source of all things. But I know that will all change soon. I catch glimpses of it in my oldest daughter and even my nine year old for that matter will escape to her friends house( 5 houses away) on her bike as often as I will let her.I spoke for a long time yesterday with an old friend about teenagers and how friends are their whole world. Your remember… we probably spent more time with our friends when we were teenagers than we did with our families! My girl friend agreed and recalled when her mom actually put a ban on her that she could only go out 3 nights a week in the summer. Good for her!! I thought to myself… “how can I make that not so!” When they are kids, they are all about family, Mom and Dad are their whole world. My kids still kiss each other goodbye before school and Sunday school, and rejoice like puppies when someone returns home at the end of the day; and when we are adults with our own kids, all we want to do is see grandma and grandpa and get together with family. What happens in the middle and how can I bridge that gap? My mom told me awhile ago about the trend of young adults wanting/ choosing to spend holidays with friends instead of family. That makes me so sad. Ever since Friends, the trend has been shows and lifestyles ( I am not sure which is emulating which) with more of an importance on friendships instead of family. My children love to watch a TV show called i-Carly about a girl who is raised by her older brother, none of the other teen characters parents are in the show except one boy whose over protective mother is painted as a joke. I asked them the other day I said, ” you know what I find interesting about i-Carly?… no one has parents…” they were quick to tell me the back story as to where everyones parents were, the mom died, the dad was overseas and well, Sam’s parents are divorced or something but that it wasn’t really about the parents. MY POINT EXACTLY! Hmmm… what ever happened to the Cosby’s, growing pains, etc. And yet despite, the friends, teachers, coaches, etc, that divide and pull at the time a youth spends with their family, I believe family can have a big, if not the main, influence over our children if done right.And done PURPOSEFULLY! I remember having a horrible season in my life during Middle School. I was being bullied by some girl everyday at the bus stop and on the bus. It got real bad! Everyday, I would say to myself as I walked, sometimes ran home… “If I can just make it home I will be safe.” “If I can just make it home I will be safe.” And I would come through the door and my mom would greet me with a smile and some comforting words and all was right with the world. What if home was a bad place, a sad place, not a safe place to be. What if upon arriving home no one was there or no one cared or believed me. Or I had older siblings who terrorized me etc. Having a safe haven is so critical for every family member. Especially teens.
My Samantha (9) has been playing the piano for about a year. She is quite good and very artsy-fartsy!! recently I was in the other room and I heard her playing Home Home on the Range… I began to sing and walk toward the music. ‘OH give me a home… where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day! As she turned and saw me, she had this look on her face that said. “How do YOU know this song?” “Ahhh, its an oldy but a goody Sam!!” So she played it again and we sang it together swaying side to side!! That night I told my husband that I could not get the song out of my head. That the deer and the antelope were my children, playing together, ( if you know my family you may picture buffalo roaming!)valuing each other for who God created them to be and respectfully embracing their unique differences. and that home should be a safe place where we encourage one another, Never discourage. The world just beats us down and tears us apart. Home should be where we come to give and receive encouragement one to another. “Where seldom is heard… a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. What a place to be!! A place to play, fellowship and be encouraged. To rest your weary head and know that you are safe and loved! Who wouldn’t want to spend time there.I hope I can make my home a place that feels sunny and happy to my children. Not cloudy or gray. WE were on vacation in California this summer and we spent time at my parents house. ( Which is where I grew up since I was 3) I told my husband, “I just LOVE to be at my parents house.” He said “that’s because you have good memories there!” and because my mom made sure that “seldom was heard, a discouraging word!” 🙂 I know that the issues at hard are far bigger than my little revelation here… but it is quite profound when you think about it. Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam… and the deer and the antelope play.. where seldom is heard a discouraging word… and the skies are not cloudy all day! Play it again SAM!!!!!!”