By Beth Pinyerd
My son called home from Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Mom I am flying home for Mother’s Day!” Needless to say my heart leaped for JOY!
Home has so many meanings to so many different people in families, individuals and cultures. For some right now, home may bring on happy thoughts and for some it may bring on sad thoughts. World travelers have witnessed many different kinds of homes from living in tents, mud huts, open aired homes, homes up on stilts, chalets, or even living on an open savanna in Africa under the stars. Even around our surrounding area of Lee county we see mobile homes, boat homes, apartments, condos, brick homes, wood homes, log cabins., etc. Some of us live in the country, city, or suburban areas. Even animals are provided homes like nests for birds, (Psalm 84:3 says even the sparrow has found a home), dens for bears, forests for all kinds of animals, lakes, bays, oceans for our water animals, beds of soil for ants, holes for moles, a web reflecting the morning dew for spiders. Sometimes we land in temporary homes like shelters when there are natural disasters. Hospitals become our homes when we become sick.
In Deuteronomy 6:7 the Lord guides us in teaching out children all the time about His truth in the Word of God at home. “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Normally, our homes provide a place of refuge, security and peace where we can let down and sense love and acceptance of who we are. You’ve heard the expression “home is where the heart is.” This expression means so much to a child’s growth, development and life. Home is a place where a child can learn, grow and experience many different lessons to prepare them to live in a bigger home, our world.
Following is list of ways that a home can prepare a child emotionally, teach new skills appropriate for their age, learn rules of discipline which lead to a well-adjusted life and respect for others, as well as helping them recognize their gifts and talents.
- Emotionally: Children are moldable and bendable by the words we say to them. Young children need clear lines of rules and boundaries but yet they need words of encouragement in order to learn, grow and just believe and know how special they are. One of my favorite centers in the classroom is the Play-Doh center because I can mold, roll and pat Play-Doh. Play-Doh is just plain old fun to make different kinds of things. Like Play-Doh, children can be shaped into objects they don’t desire to be or into objects that radiate like the bright colors of Play-Doh by the words, actions, and time we spend with our children. The home is the perfect environment where words of encouragement and time spent with our children are the essential building blocks in their adjustment, well being, and good self esteem. Too, getting off the very busy routine at home and letting your child just unwind is very important.
- Learning new skills: There are so many readiness and academic lessons to be learned at home through household chores that truthfully aid in your child’s developmental learning. Sorting laundry into piles like the family’s dirty or clean clothes, they can sort what belongs to mom, dad, brother , or sister. Sorting silverware to set the table for a family meal emphasizes groups or sets. Too, children have to count and remember how many family members to set the table which is one to one correspondence. In the kitchen having preschool children read food labels by looking at the pictures on the jars or cans contributes to reading readiness. Measurement of quantities, fractions or comparison of sizes can be taught as children help mom or dad in the kitchen. Social skills can be taught as you interact with your child. Too, role-playing is an excellent way to teach a child the wrong and right way. Siblings can be a part of role playing what is right and what is wrong. Discovery skills in science can be taught by having your child observe his/her surroundings. Reading together a favorite book is an excellent way to wind down the day while at the same time teaching your preschool child new words and concepts.
- Discipline: As a parent, it is our responsibility to discipline our children. Home provides the environment in helping a child learn to get along with his or her family as well as his or her friends.
Children are born with the desire for we parents or caregivers to set boundaries for their health and safety. We have rules for driving on the road, being careful, as well as respecting the lives of others. As I tell my students in my classroom, “ I set up rules for you to follow because I do care and love you.” Rules differ for each family according to their needs and lifestyles as well as cultures. We use the example if we have no rules in our classroom, we cannot learn because we would have no direction. It is the same with children at home. They remember and follow the rules you consistently set down and expect them to follow.
- Gift and Talents: What better environment can a child realize that they have certain gifts, talents, and unique personalities than in the safety of their homes. Celebrating the life of your child is so very important! Set special days within your home to spend time one on one with each of your children. You don’t have to wait till their birthdays. Stay in tune to what your child likes to do such as drawing, reading, music, science, puzzles, blocks, etc. Spend time with your child at home.
Time spent with your child spells love. They are little people too whose young lives can be molded within the home.
A home well lived in is where a young child can feel love, safe, and happy and to take this wonderful foundation into the world. Yes, home is where the heart is!