Helping your Kids Have a Hospitable Heart
There’s something so heartwarming to see my kids practice hospitality as young adults. As parents we spend years teaching them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ among a host of other manners, so it’s nice to know it eventually pays off!
Arrive with a gift in hand.
Besides the usual table manners regarding napkins, elbows, and full mouths, I taught my kids to never go to a party empty-handed. They would always bring something to share like a bag of chips or soda. Today, it warms my heart when my daughter makes grandma dinner and my son brings her flowers. Recently, my son went to a friend’s in Eastern Washington and I asked him what he brought. After mentioning donuts and some other items he chirped, “No one else brought anything, mom.” I silently cheered at a lesson learned and applied! Of course, we all encourage what we consider important; your kid’s successes will be different from mine.
A hospitable heart begins at home where our example and instruction teach our children how to care for others. Hospitality is the art of making someone feel welcome and loved in our homes. As we model hospitality, our children can’t help but catch it!
You have your own great list of hospitable practices you teach your kids. Here are some of mine:
- Walk to the door for greetings and good-byes.
- Serve your guest; when you see a need, try to fill it.
- Savor your guest’s company. Get most of the work done ahead of time and let the dinner dishes go until after they’ve gone.
- Let the kids take turns inviting a special guest to dinner. Consider who might need friendship and encouragement.
- Take a meal to someone who is sick or hurting.
- Always make enough to share for an open place at the table.
- Enjoy your children’s guests too; join in their conversation showing you’re interested in them.
Hospitality isn’t about an elaborate menu or a super-clean house decorated like a magazine.
It’s about treating your family like friends and your friends like family. Your guests will pick up on your feelings, especially if you genuinely feel they are welcome and wanted in your home.
How about you, who can you invite to enjoy the warmth of your home?
Who knows how your loving example might return to you? Imagine someday you’ll be a visitor in your kid’s homes where you’ll smile as they take your coat and sit you down to dinner … and some flowers!
Loving others together,
Stephanie Allen is Co-founder and President of Dream Dinners and a New York Times best-selling co-author of The Hour that Matters Most. Naturally a visionary and optimist, Stephanie hopes to inspire America through her nurturing voice of encouragement, assuring families…
“You’re doing a great job!”