Not long ago I had to fill out some paper work at a bank. The next day the lady at the bank called because there was one more paper to sign. I went in and she had filled out all the information for me on the form. I just had to sign the paper. I glanced through her writing to make sure it was accurate. My eyes paused on the words “Home Maker” above occupation. Yes, that is correct. I signed and walked out. As I got to the parking lot her writing flashed back into my mind. I said to myself. “I am a Home Maker.” Usually the word homemaker is only one word, but the way she had written it on the form made it look like she had written it as two words…both starting with a capital letter. Home Maker. Now while I got the title homemaker from not working outside of the home, the splitting of words refers to each person, father, mother, guardian, whether single or married, who works to build a home. We are this generation’s Home Makers.
In a publication called The Family in America, Bryce Christensen writes that the number of homeless people on the street “does not begin to reveal the scope of homelessness in America. For since when did the word home signify merely physical shelter, or homelessness merely the lack of such shelter? … Home [signifies] not only shelter, but also emotional commitment, security, and belonging.”[i]
I really hope each of us will pause for a moment…set down our tools and our house plan and really consider what “Home” we are “Making”. What do we want our home to be? What foundation will our children have? What memories do we want to help create? Here are a few thoughts to consider:
Create Positive Memories – As a young mother, I heard the quote about how memories can be June roses in the Decembers of our lives.[ii] I thought to myself, I want to help my kids to have good memories of their time in our home so no matter what lies ahead, they have some positive memories to hold on to. Good memories come with quantity time..that has its burst of quality time.[iii] In my experience simple traditions repeated over and over form the most positive memories. Something you do each Sunday, a mealtime experience, a nightly ritual, etc. The actual tradition isn’t as important as the fact that the whole family participated in it. Are we filling our children’s lives with so many activities that take them out of our home that they never get the firm, positive memory foundation? (see posts Family Service Activity, Lively Inside Games, Not Your Ordinary Fortune Cookies)
“Sit a spell” – Just stop. Turn off all electronics/screens. Look at your family members. Sit on a front porch, look at the stars, play a real life board game, reminisce. A quote from Brigham Young states, “Sit a spell with me. I get tired of men and things.” My favorite time to “sit a spell” is around the dinner table with my family. We talk and laugh and discuss. (see posts Silverware Swap, Travel the World, Ex-straw-ordinary Dinner, Who’s Invited to Dinner). Another way to get myself to stop is to actually write “kid time” on my daily list. When I had little kids at home all day, I would set myself a timer, go to the play area and play dolls or animals with my kids. When my timer went off I would finish up and then go back to my work. I learned a lot during that time about my kids and about the things they think and love. A third way to “sit a spell” is taking time for stories. My husband would tell a story or read to our family. We loved to sit around and listen. The kids would color or draw…or just enjoy (see post Books at Bedtime).We also like Game Dates; they are a built in chance for one on one time. We could read all the parenting books and blogs in the world and not have more direction than simply observing our children and asking for help in prayer from a loving Heavenly Father who knows them perfectly. Miracles happen when we go to the right source. (see posts Five Ways to Help Your Kids Know They are Loved, Storytime)
Teach Moral Values– A few minutes in a school classroom as an observer teaches you all kinds of things about a child’s home. Schools do their best to help kids conform to the accepted values of honesty and respect, but recently it feels like a losing battle…however, all is not lost. There is a fiction book called Fahrenheit 451 written in 1953 by Ray Bradbury. I had to read it in college and the essence of the story has remained with me all these years. In the book the characters are constantly influenced by a television type device that covers the walls in their houses and little ear pieces that tell them what is going on. The schools teach the students to memorize answers and not to think for themselves. Front porches and rocking chairs are nonexistent. All books that are found are burned. The main character, Guy Montag, is a firefighter that burns books. He goes along like a drone until he meets a young girl named Clarisse. She represents a world he has never considered. She speaks of actually sitting and visiting with her family, playing outside, and pondering. Suddenly she disappears. When Guy asks what has become of her, his boss says it is lucky “queer ones like her don’t happen often.” Basically she is a threat to society and they are all better off that she is dead. He says, “The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school.”[iv] I’d change that to the situation of our day and say, “The home environment can undo a lot of what society is trying to teach.” A strong home base can undo false ideas and not let them take root. Taking time to teach children core values does much for a heart and builds character. It creates a child who knows right. The ideas of the world that are contrary to high morals get pushed off quickly. My church[v] teaches us to have Family Home Evening once a week. It is a time that the family gathers for a lesson and a treat…it helps build our home. Whatever your faith, it will help your home. (see posts Teaching Children to Protect Themselves from Pornography, Job Search, There’s No Place Like the Kitchen Table, and Controlling Anger)
Build Faith in God- The world tries to take God out of our lives. Let’s find Him in our homes. Let us always remember that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”[vi] He and his teachings are the foundation of a home that “feels safe.” His love transcends anything that can happen to us here on earth. He is solid and unchanging. When kids know that they can always count on Him, they develop an inner peace. Home should be a place to regroup and remember the peace. I cling to the words of Boyd K. Packer. He said, “Parents today wonder if there is a safe place to raise children. There is a safe place. It is in a gospel-centered home.”[vii] We can build faith in God with prayer, scripture study, discussion, and love. (see the posts Family Prayer, The Power of One, Memorizing Scripture Tips)
I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for trusting me to be a “Home Maker.” Being a perfect mother, father, or grandparent isn’t what matters…consistently trying to build a safe, solid haven from the world is what will make all the difference. Kids will love us as we love and protect them. Good luck on your “Home Making” adventure!
Here are the sources used in the post:
[i] “HomeLess America: What the Disappearance of the American Homemaker Really Means,” The Family in America, Jan. 2003, www.profam.org/pub/fia/xfia_1701.htm Also quoted in Susan Tanner, Strengthening Future Mothers, June 2005 Ensign.
[ii] “The Scottish poet James Barrie wrote, “God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.” Thomas S. Monson, Oct 1999, Becoming Our Best Selves. He was paraphrasing James Barrie, in Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time, comp. Laurence J. Peter (1977), 335.
[iii] “Mothers must not fall into the trap of believing that “quality” time can replace “quantity” time. Quality is a direct function of quantity—and mothers, to nurture their children properly, must provide both.” M. Russell Ballard, BYU Education Week, The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood, Aug 19, 2003
[iv] Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, page 60, published in 1953
[vi] The Family: A Proclamation to the World, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
[vii] Packer, Boyd K., The Key to Spiritual Protection, Oct 2013