I remember so vividly in my pre-marriage days my commitment to making coming home the best part of my future husband’s day. I wanted him to look forward each day to coming home to a wife and family who would be happy to see him and an environment where he could release the troubles of his day and relax and recharge.
Then came marriage and more children, broken washing machines and broken expectations, and those commitments to my attitudes and habits started falling by the wayside.
One thing we settled on was that no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, when one of us leaves to go anywhere, we leave with a kiss, and when we come back home we’re welcomed with a kiss. I’ve not always felt like doing that, but it’s one of those things that after a time I started doing anyway and I rarely deviate.
My folks were not very affectionate with each other, but one thing stands out in my mind when I think about the good things I had modeled for me in my family of origin. I have no idea how often this happened, but I can distinctly remember my father coming home from work and walking straight into the kitchen where my mother was working at the sink and giving her a quick kiss hello. I liked that. I also remember my dad’s ritual of coming home and going upstairs to change and presumably de-stress before rejoining the family. My mom never greeted him with a to-do list or a “You’re not going to believe this” story.
I feel convicted as I write this because I know I’ve done both those things . . . And worse.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how the way parents treat their spouses and how that manifests itself in the attitudes and actions of their children. See, I think I intuitively know how to welcome home Andrew at the end of the day because it was modeled for me by my mom and dad.
This morning my Littles (Noah (5-Down syndrome), Bella (3), and Seth (2) we’re outside on the deck playing in their Little Tikes car – the kind the child opens the door, slides in, shuts the door and then uses their feet to scoot around in. They would get in, drive to the end of the deck, turn around, come back to the starting point, get out, and then whoever was driving would be smothered in hugs by the other two. Then it would be someone else’s turn, and the process would start all over again.
And that’s what it looks like around here when Andrew or myself returns home after a day or even an hour away. I’ve learned to end television time or computer time before the estimated time of arrival, and without that there are no distractions for myself or the children greater than the excitement of Andrew returning home.
I have been guilty of rolling my eyes, staying seated and insisting the kids stay seated if Andrew comes home after we’ve already started dinner. I work so hard getting everyone to the table, I really have a hard time letting them jump up and disperse just because Daddy’s walked in the door. But, you know, I think next time that happens, I’ll jump up right along side them and see if I can’t get to him first.
The biggest parental problem I see inside and outside Christianity is the resentful attitude and lack of respect in today’s youth towards their parents and adults in general. I have also noticed in my own family and in others, when a husband lacks respect and honor for his wife, his sons will share that lack of respect and honor for their mother. And when a wife lacks respect and honor for her husband, her daughters will do the same. And guess what – children who grow up without respect for their parents often grow up to be adults who lack respect for their spouses. I know there are some of you out there who have overcome that handicap, but what a legacy we could leave for our children if we (I include myself in this exhortation) could truly through and through respect and honor our spouse!
I’ll leave you with this that I came across tonight as I was searching for a scripture my mom referenced the last time we talked about this subject. The scripture she was referencing was 1 Peter 5:14. “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.” (Although I’m pretty sure she referenced the King James version.)
And for those of you who struggle like I do at times with emotions that might hinder you in this regard, I offer you this hope that precedes 5:14, remembering that being a self-proclaimed martyr rarely co-exists with being humble:
1 Peter 5:6-11: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because HE CARES FOR YOU. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Amen and amen.