Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hospitality and Family

When I think of hospitality, the idea that immediately comes to mind is that of an outward expression. Before reading this chapter on hospitality and family, my vision of hospitality could largely be filled up in inviting a friend or a close family over for dinner, meeting a neighbor’s need, hosting a holiday dinner party and so on. The authors open this chapter on family by saying “While the ministry of hospitality often focuses on those outside out home, it should begin from within our home. If this occurs, generosity and kindness toward others become an extension of our family hospitality.” They go on to say that extending hospitality to our own family should be of first priority. Here are some of my underlined family first principles to the point of treating your family "as good as guests:"

1. Prepare favorite foods.

2. Set the table-How often to I neglect to do this for my husband and I?! It’s so easy to take a paper plate to the coffee table but how much more does setting the table with a nice table cloth and some fresh flowers communicate to your husband/children that you have given thought to the meal and are joyful about serving them!

3. Check your appearance: The authors point out here how quick we are to change our cloths, do our makeup and hair before guests come over. Why not give our family the same courtesy? There is a short story in the book about a woman walking in to find her mother doing her hair and putting on her lipstick. When the daughter asked where she was going, the mother replied, “nowhere, your dad is coming home soon.” The authors concludes this point by saying that while we shouldn't’t be overly consumed with our appearance, maintaining care of our appearance out of love is appropriate.

4. Create a warm atmosphere-Dinner music anyone?

5. Turn off the tv and leave the phone to the answering machine.

6. Keep an orderly home-Our family should benefit from our daily cleaning and organizing just as guests enjoy our efforts when they visit. You probably spend time cleaning the house before the guests arrive, but what about after the leave? Managing the home is key to the hospitality of your family.

7. Include your children: Neglecting to include children in hospitality can plant seeds of bitterness towards it. For many women, it’s easy to give into the temptation of viewing children as interruptions when preparing to host and plan a meal. Reading this, I can easily see how ignoring my future children while wearing the hostess hat could make them resentful of people coming over, and even get in the way of them learning the importance of serving others! To avoid viewing kids as a frustration in the midst of your preparations, the authors offer some great points. First, allow yourself extra time for tasks, because face it, you know it’s going to take longer with little helpers! Also, be willing to set aside the “to do” list for the needs of your children, and proactively look for ways to include them in your preparations.

As a last note, modeling hospitality with your family is not only foundational in setting a good example for your children, but also provides a great opportunity to create meaningful memories and family traditions.

That concludes my latest lesson on hospitality, Bon Appetite!

1 comment:

Shayna said...

Very practical lessons, Rebecca! Excellent! This sounds like a book I need to put on my "wish list." ;)

Happy (almost) weekend!!