The table had been prepared for my homecoming.
Way # 16 We take personal responsibility to keep our home neat and clean at all times.
Time changes from so much travel had left me so exhausted, I thought I would fall asleep standing up. An unusual 7 weeks of traveling, (2 family weddings) and a visit to Joy and 3 speaking engagements, had found me coming and going constantly to the airport to different sides of the country. Walking out to our meeting place at the airport, Joel whisked my bags from me, placed them in the car and then drove me the hour home from the airport.
"We packed you some cherries, Mom, cause we didn't know if you would be hungry," Joel informed me.
Home sweet home called my name as we drove into the driveway. As I walked in the door, candles were lit, music was wafting softly and the table was set with a warm bowl of soup and crusty herb bread. Fresh flowers and a welcome home sign greeted me in the sweep of entering the front door.
"Welcome home, mama. I bet you are ready to sleep in your own bed for a long while," Sarah commented as she put the last bowl of soup on the table.
I waited many years to know if all of my training and providing had gone into their hearts and minds, but now, the values they carried out each day in their own lives told me the lessons were all going to the core of their being, claiming them as their own.
Memory Verse: The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor.
"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
May I be the first one to say how glad I am to be in this place. Finally, finally the fruit of my labor has come to fruition. My children have "caught" it.
They take initiative, when they are home, to make our own home inviting, a prepared sanctuary, a solace to my soul, a place that says welcome when I get home from necessary trips. Now, the values that I had in mind when I prepared my home in this way, year after year, month after month, day after day, have become their own standard of what a home should "speak" to people when they come here. And they do it without being told, because of all of the years of me training them and making them help me daily, straightening up, lighting candles, putting on music, making a meal, setting the table, over and over again.. Training takes lots and lots of practice and patience.
A mama has to be a servant leader to provide a wonderful sanctuary for her own children, so that they will want to be a part of continuing to make it sanctuary. What they "feel" and love will cause them to want to duplicate. And sometimes, the laboratory of life is a mess and you can't quite see what is being accomplished except just existing. Those days of ear infections, new babies, a broken washer, holidays, and life! But building the ideals into the warp and woof of life as the children grow with you, creates habits in their lives.
As a mom, you have to practice with your children, what you want them to possess as their own. A good piano teacher instructs her students in how to do the scales and then shows her student scales again and again, and then listens to her students do the scales, in order for her pupil to learn the basics to become a skilled pianist. Similarly, a mom has to instruct, show how to do something, watch her children learn to do it and then do the process all over again.
Whatever you want your children to learn to take initiative in (manners, hospitality, serving others, cleaning, working diligently), requires you to define what your goals and ideals are, and then putting into the daily schedule of your life, modeling, patiently instructing, encouraging and training.
Often, moms have said to me, "Your children were just naturally strong or smart,....," But each habit and value of excellence came at the expense of lots of hard work and investment on my behalf-sprinkled heavily with the grace of God. No one becomes excellent of character automatically from lectures. Wisdom and skill require time, instruction and practice.--modeling combined with gentle and patient instruction.
And so, one of the most important ways of training into our children is, "This is not just my house, it is your house. We take care of it by keeping it a place of life and beauty. How do you want others to see your home? What do we do to make it a place of refreshment for all who come here?" And then, you, the mom, make the standards every day, and you show them how to do all the tasks, and you give them responsibility.
I am not a detailed person, so working at this ordering of my home was learned as I trained my children, little by little.
Then when they are young adults, they all live the same ways in their own apartments and homes. All come home to say, "I love how we took care of our home and had beauty and order and feasts and fun." And so they do what they were taught to do all of their lives--they take initiative to keep it a place of beauty when they are home because it is the oxygen they breathed in and out each day of living here.
Don't be discouraged if it doesn't seem like your children are paying attention. They are and they will, in time, come to think of your standards as their own, as they participate in the rhythms you establish day after day. I promise, in time, when they are old, they will not depart from it. Stay faithful!