I remember a time when my children were younger, telling my husband that I want our home to be THE hangout house for our children and their friends.
My desire is being fulfilled.
I joke around about the smelliness of young men in our home, but deep down, I’m thankful that it’s in MY home. I have the unique advantage of knowing where my children are and who is influencing their lives.
Even with us being a homeschool family, we’re known as THAT family in the neighborhood whose dad plays basketball EVERY afternoon with his sons. This is a draw for the other fellas to come, be active, and get one-on-one time with a dad.
As summer approaches, I want our home to be more inviting and our days more purposeful toward the young men and women that spend time in our yard, sitting on our front porch, devouring snacks in our kitchen, and cooling off in the family room.
I don’t want the ringing of the doorbell to cause my eyes to roll. I want them to be greeted with knowing that they have a place to (respectfully) “chill.”
I want to have more than enough snacks or even provide a meal when needed. I want our family to pour Christ’s love and truth on them.
It’s my mission this summer to not be too busy, self-absorbed, or preoccupied to engage the young people in conversation; to see things the way they do and to better understand how to relate to my children as they interact with their friends.
This is a time to be privy to the latest phrases, technology, and fashion trends as well as their hearts, struggles, and victories.
I’ve come to know a few of the parents of these youths and they’ve also become my “eyes” when my children are away from me and in their homes.
It’s always been important to know who your children’s friends’ parents are before you allow them to invest time at their homes.
- What are their morals and values?
- If they knew that a certain thing wasn’t okay with you concerning your children, would that parent balk at you and go behind your back?
- Do you communicate with them on some level?
- Do you have their phone numbers?
- Do you know their house rules and policies?
- Set boundaries on both ends (i.e. no phone calls or texts after a certain time, no coming over before 8 a.m., no friends in the home without an adult present, no “free-grazing” of the household food, etc.).
Open your heart and home to your children’s friends. Listen to them and be a mature voice in their lives. God may have a special place for you, a place where you could impart the same wisdom that their parents have been trying to get them to hear. (Hey, it’s happened with my older girls. Thank the Lord for other wise voices in their lives.)
Our youth yearn for guidance and to know that someone cares. Will your family be the one?