This post comes from Cassie, a friend of Tiffany's. Cassie is currently a SAHM of 2, almost 3 youngin's. Cassie and husband, Tom, are great at welcoming others into their home and life. I couldn't think of a better person to share how she has helped her children practice it as well.
|photo courtesy of pebblemats.com|
So how do you instill hospitality into little ones? The simplest answer is -- model it. My husband and I love to have people inour home. For the first year of our daughter's life, we lived with another family and a student from Africa. Now we have people in our home a couple of times a week - whether it is our small group or a friend for an impromptu lunch of sandwiches and chips.
Kids learn what is normal from us. Does the "normal" definition of home include a sense of community where we invite the world to our table to share the love of Jesus? Or does the "normal" definition of home hinge on the idea of escape from the world? As a parent you impart what home means to your children.
Here are some tangible ways to grow the seeds of hospitality in your kids:
1. Before you invite someone over, stranger or long-time friend, prepare your child for what will be happening and regularly repeat the names of of your guests. This helps them feel like they are an essential part of the gathering. It also helps abate anxiety in more introverted children.
2. Have your children help prepare for guests -- whether it is making a bed, setting the table, or stirring the soup.
3. Include your kids in the conversation, games, meal, etc. Kids welcome others when they feel welcome.
4. Set traditions with your kids concerning guests - whether it is saying a special dinner prayer for guests or walking friends to their car. This gives them scripts to know how to love on others.
5. Pray for those whom you invited into your home after they leave. This helps teach your children God's people and times spent together are special!