Monday, March 18, 2013

Practicing Hospitality

The tagline on our congregation's theme this week of Practicing Hospitality is putting smiles on faces.  I love this, because when it comes down to it, I think this is what hospitality is all about.  And hospitality isn't just about what we do when visitors comes to our home, it's really about how we live.  Do we hold the door open for the person behind us?  Do we smile at the cashier helping us at the grocery store?  Do we display a pleasant attitude when running errands or get annoyed by anyone who seems to slow us down?

Hospitality is something I've tried to nurture in myself and put into practice over the years.  I love having people over, but sometimes it can also  feel like a big deal to get the house ready, decide what to have for dinner, and everything else.  Somewhere along the line, I decided to change my tactic.  Rather than fuss over all the details, instead, I decided to, like the old Nike ad says, just do it.  So we did.

 We've been inviting friends over just about every Friday night for many weeks now (save the nights when a family member was sick) and as a family, we really enjoy it.  It's been so fun to hear Esme ask, "Are my friends coming now?" and to see her interact with our friends' kids.  She's getting really good at learning people's names and sharing her toys.  It turns out she also has a stellar memory-- she remembers which friends come through which door (garage or front, depending on how often they've been to our house!)

There's a great book out that helps teach kids about hospitality-- both being a guest and a host-- called When Elephant Goes to a Party by Sonia Levitin.  Though the part about how calling relatives in Africa collect is not appropriate is definitely outdated, this book has proved to be a great platform for talking to Esme about how to act when she goes to someone else's house or when we have friends over to ours.

I've also found that, as is the case with most things in life, the more we invite people into our home for a meal, the easier it gets.  In order to make this a sustainable practice for the stage that we are at in life right now, here's what works for us (this is an important thing to remember-- what works for us may or may not work for you!  So take the ideas that work and dump the ideas that don't.):
  1. Keep the meal simple.  We've done everything from get take and bake pizza to soup, to having a Crock Pot meal.  Keeping the meal simple reminds us that the most important thing is time together with the people we care about anyway.
  2. Have food that Esme likes- this is key to her staying at the table and giving Thomas and I time to talk with our friends.  And it just so happens that Esme isn't the only child that likes pizza and macaroni and cheese.  :)
  3. Don't worry about having a clean house.  As long as things are relatively picked up and clean, that's good enough for me.  And really, as someone I know once said: If someone comes to your house and cares about how clean it is, do you really want that person as a friend anyway??

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips