What do you need to adopt about your home and about yourself as a parent or spouse to have the kind of home you want?
Thought provoking, isn’t it?
I’d make more time for pauses. But after spending time with that question, I realized there was another side to that coin. What do you need to relinquish in the world to have the kind of home you want?
These are questions about values, faith, and priorities. And recently, I’ve come to realize that perhaps these are questions about honor.
Before I can figure out what needs to change in our house, I need to identify the status quo. What habits are we encouraging? What priorities are we modeling?
Our boys are expected to brush their teeth every morning and every night because we want hygiene to become their habit. We use “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” regularly in our home because we want manners to become a habit. (We’re working on “I’m sorry” too; that one’s harder.)
We go to church on Sundays because we want that to be a spiritual habit. We discuss buying decisions in terms of the joy the thing or activity will bring and the financial cost because we think this is a good habit of mind. We talk about religion, sex, drugs, and politics in our home because we want our children to grow into adults who can think critically and speak respectfully about challenging topics.
We are pretty explicit about the expectations around these habits. You can draw a line from the demands we make and the things we do as parents to some kind of desired end result now and in adulthood. (That line is anything but straight… wiggly, squiggly parenting is hard, y’all!)
What about the implied messages we send our kids? Do we have expectations that send messages we wouldn’t otherwise condone?
When we buy into the meritocratic message that more AP classes and simultaneous multi-league athletic competition are a necessary part of growing up, are we leaving room for Jesus in that schedule? And I’m not just talking about the common concern that kids aren’t making it to church and youth group.
What about opportunities for sabbath and quiet to notice the Holy Spirit?
How much time in Creation do our children get?
Does spending time with friends and family require that you miss an extracurricular… are you willing to miss an extracurricular?
Commitment is a funny thing, friends. What are we teaching our children? As their parents, what are we nurturing in them? Is exhaustion on that list? When do we press pause? What makes us pause?
I’ve had two “gifts of time” over the last couple of weeks. The first occurred while driving home from visiting a teacher in her classroom when I had to pull over for a funeral procession. This procession was the longest I’ve ever seen, and most of these vehicles had flashing lights. Paul Quattlebaum was a firefighter killed in the line of duty and a marine. Firefighters across the state stopped their lives for a few hours to honor him.
The second gift of time happened when I pulled into the cell phone lot to pick up my mom at the airport. A state trooper asked me to park at the end, past the Patriot Guard Riders, and several trooper cruisers. When I asked if a soldier was being brought home, they said yes, a WWII veteran’s remains had been found and were being flown home. As it turns out, he was on my mom’s flight. He died at 18 years of age. Someone gave up their first-class seat to the serviceman accompanying the remains. As my mom and I drove to Asheville from Charlotte, we passed under three different overpasses with firetrucks and American flags at the ready for the procession that would pass underneath.
This is honor, y’all. When we choose people and the Holy over the worldly, we choose honor.
How do we honor God with our habits? Do we start with God, or do we fill our lives and (sometimes) leave whatever room is left for the Holy Spirit?
I want our home to be a place where we notice the Holy. I want our home to be a place where we understand honor and reverence. I want our home to be a place where we honor the humanity of each other so we can go out into the world prepared and able to honor the humanity in others. In all others. We have a lot of work to do.
So… What do you need to adopt about your home and about yourself as a parent or spouse to have the kind of home you want? What do you need to relinquish in the world to have the kind of home you want?
[Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay]