Home Is What You Make It

photo credit: Joel Abroad

In the perpetual effort to have a presentable house where multiple young children live and grow, an idea finally came to me that people will treat themselves and their surroundings in a way that reflects how they view them. If children view themselves as carefree and without responsibility they will take no responsibility. If they view parents as having the primary purpose of serving kids they will treat parents as servants. If they view their home as little more than a shelter from the wind and rain they will treat home like a cave.

On the other hand, if kids view themselves as someone special with important responsibilities and a grand destiny, like princes and princesses, they are more likely to look beyond the desires of this very instant and plan to meet the destiny they envision. If they see parents as important role models they are more likely to emulate them rather than make demands on them. If they see home as a sanctuary, rather than a shelter they are more likely to treat it with some respect and care.

With that thought in mind we have begun to emphasize to our children their identity as children of a heavenly king in hopes that they will think of themselves as more than merely bipedal hominids. We are also asking them to think of and treat their home as a castle such as children of a king might live in. Personally I’d like them to treat home as a temple but I fear that high standard might be discouraging rather than ennobling.

It’s too soon to be sure how much long term effect this will have on the kids but for myself I know that this mindset helps me not to give in to the temptation to allow my expectations to slip when things start to pile up around us.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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4 Responses to Home Is What You Make It

  1. M says:

    Great goal! I love how the Bible Dictionary likens the home as a temple in level of sacredness. 🙂

    • David says:

      That is the goal. I figure if we strive to make the home like a temple then the temple will feel like home to the kids when they get to go there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Have the children invest in their home. If they invest their time and effort in building, keeping up and repairing, they will count the cost of recklessness. They will find joy in the beauty and cleanliness of the home. They will feel like a valuable contributing part of the family as even the 2 year old helps take out the garbage and make his bed.

    Consider the different effect of a producer attitude compared to a consummer attitude. In this world we value the carefree happy consumer attitude which is really “all about Me.” But the foundation of love and service and all Christ like attiributes is the producer attitude.

    Isn’t it great how working on one goal will produce more than one positive life lesson.

    • David says:

      That has been my belief from the beginning of my parenting and continues to be what we are working toward but children do not understand abstract concepts like investment until those concepts have been brought within their zone of proximal development. Children naturally think more about “me” and “now” than they do about others and returns on investment. On the other hand they understand the concept of responsibility in connection with castles, kings and queens, princes and princesses.

      We’re still working on getting them to think of the cleanup before they make a mess but they are getting better at cleaning up in a timely manner after they’ve made one.

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