10 Building Blocks of a Healthy Home
I have a sweet, small decorative pillow that sits proudly on my guest bedroom bed. This darling stuffed piece of fabric announces winsomely, “Home is Where Your Story Begins!”.
The truth that is contained in that 26-letter phrase, followed by an excited exclamation point, cannot be overstated.
Home is the beginning of your life’s journey.
Home life sets the foundation of all that will follow in your years of living.
Home can either warp you or strengthen you.
Home life, especially during the baby and childhood years, can either delight you or discourage you.
Home can propel you to noble living or it has the capacity to paralyze you with unmatched pain.
Now … the truth of this statement is that all of us have had a home in our formative years.
You might have been raised in foster care and were tossed around from one home to another. You might have suffered serious internal damage at the hands of an abusive father or an emotionally distant mother.
If either of those tales paints the beginning of your life’s story … then you have had much to overcome.
You might have been raised in the security of a loving and committed family. You might have been fiercely wanted and lovingly celebrated by the man and woman who were your mom and dad.
If the building blocks of love, nurture and kindness built the foundation of your story … then you have a rare strength and are headed straight toward a happy ending.
Home is indeed where your story begins.
If home life is so important, I wonder why our culture has told women that what they do is unimportant?
If home life is as undeniably powerful as psychologists believe it to be, then why do fathers overcommit to working and under-commit to nurturing?
If a healthy home has the ability to cure at least some of the evils of society, then why do we think that a six-figure income … or climbing the corporate ladder … or binging on Netflix … or bringing violence into the home via video games, TV shows and music … is something that we are unable to live without?
Why do we falsely believe that raising our voices in anger … or demanding our own way … or wounding little hearts is the best way to deal with inevitable frustration?
My heart has been turned toward the home for the past few weeks on this blog because I deeply desire for mothers and fathers to realize that they are the most powerful people in the entire world.
The attitudes that are embraced at your home address … the words that are spoken in your family room … the actions that are observed in the house that you call home … are of more vital importance than anything that happens at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue … on Wall Street … or at the United Nations.
And so, in honor of the value and inherent power of home life, today I would like to share with you 10 Building Blocks of a Healthy Home. Read on, my friend, read on!
1 – Watch your tone of voice! When you are most frustrated and most angry – measure the level of your voice. Speak with kind tones and with reduced volume.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
2 – Make sure that your home is a place of unequaled kindness and unrivaled encouragement in actions, words, conversations and attitudes.
3 – Play lots of music in your home! Broadway show tunes … classic pieces … Oldies from your growing up years … hymns … Patriotic anthems … Christmas all year round … contemporary Christian music! You can never have too much music in your home!
4 – Play games together! Choose at least one night a week and play age appropriate games together. Laugh and tease. Make popcorn! Celebrate LOUDLY the family that is yours! You can never have too much laughter in the family home!
5 – Build family traditions. Eat Chili on Christmas Eve … have a sidewalk chalk contest on the Fourth of July … give “word-gifts” on birthdays … watch “White Christmas” while putting up your Christmas tree … have a tea party on Valentine’s Day … invite the neighborhood kids over for an Easter Egg hunt.
6 – Teach your family to work hard … to play hard … and to pray hard. Work. Play. Pray. Those three choices will be a dynamic triumvirate that serves to bond your family together through the difficult times in life.
7 – Have family meetings to discuss the challenging issues of family life. Don’t sweep conflict under the rug but bring it out in the open, talk about it kindly, forgive one another and move on.
8 – Have an open door policy for your children’s friends. Your goal should be to have the happiest, most welcoming home on the street.
9 – Read great books together. Make reading a priority. Starting with a newborn baby – read out loud to your children every single night. You can never read too many books in the family home!
10 – Begin every day with prayer and end every day with prayer. This is the prayer that I prayed out loud every single night over each of my 5 children until the day that they left for college:
“Jesus, I thank you for Joni.
Give her happy dreams and happy sleep.
Keep her safe and healthy and strong so that she can grow up to be a woman of God and serve you all the days of her life.
And always let her know how much her mom and dad and her sister and brothers love her!
Home life is where it all begins … so build a great one! The ripples of the choices that you make in the family home will impact generations to come!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!