Monday, July 10, 2006

The Firm Foundation of the Home

Some email acquaintances have suggested a support blog for parents with teen and adult children who are threatening the stability of their lives and their homes (rebellion). If anyone would be interested in something like that, please email me:

As many have observed, the home is more than the walls and the roof. It is represented by family members wherever they are. When we see teen and young adults around, we behold their manner of life and their attitudes and wonder what they were like at home. Obviously, some will have been a terror to their parents, tearing down the stability of the home. Others will be a help to their families, building up their parents marriage and helping everyone around them love and respect their family.

One of the signs of respect of the home and family is the way teen and adult children treat the house and talk to the parents. If they come home and flop all over everything, leaving disorder in everything they touch, it shows lack of respect. If they come home and their presence benefits their parents and their parents dwelling, they show honor, and they will be the ones who will ultimately get the most good from it in their lives.

Orderliness in the home contributes to a feeling of peace. Disorder often brings confusion and lack of logical thinking. It is very difficult to sort out one's thoughts in the midst of chaos. That is one reason that the homemaker is so concerned about messes in her house. I once read that sloppy living leads to sloppy thinking. I don't know if it is true or not, but certainly there are those who aren't at their best when their house is a wreck. If the state of our homes are a reflection of our thoughts, and if our teen children's rooms are a measure of their cooperation or rebellion, then some of us are in real trouble! I for one am attempting to streamline my house so that it is easier to keep up.

Apple Gatherers by Frederick Morgan (1847-1927) English.


Anonymous said...

I am almost finished with a book from the Library called: "HOME COMORTS The Art & Science of keeping House." by Cheryl Mendelson. 1999
It is a wonderful reference. I am going through my second look , and she had some insights into todays homes... It is a large volume and goes over Food, Cloth, Cleanliness, Daily Life, sleep, Safe Shelter, Formalities. I am aghast at how much I do NOT know...and how much housekeeping has to do with good health..
I think a large part of rebellion is because of the homelife.

Page 8
"...American housekeeping and home life are in a state of decline….” Homes today often seem to operate on an ad hoc basis…” …”Dirt, Dust and Disorder are more common in middle-class homes than they used to be. Cleaning and neatening are done mostly when the house seems out of control.”
….It is not in goods that the contemporary household is poor, but in comfort and care.”
“These deficiencies of housekeeping can have serious effects on health. The decline of home cooking and regular home meals, along with the prevalence of the couch potato and television culture, coincide with skyrocketing rates of obesity and its related health problems…..”
“…Household activities of all kinds are becoming haphazard, not only cleaning, cooking and laundering. Television often absorbs everyone’s attention because other activities (such as music-making, letter-writing, socializing, reading, or cooking) require at least a minimum of foresight, continuity, order and planning that the contemporary household cannot accommodate. Home life as a whole has contracted. Less happens at home; less time is spent there. Like the industrial poor of 1910, many people now, in order to work long hours with rare days off, must farm out their children for indifferent institutional care. People are tired, sleeping an estimated two hours less per night than people did a hundred years ago. There are fewer parties, dinners, or card games with friends in homes. Divorces break up countless households, and even intact families frequent moves break ties to friends and neighbors.
The homes that reemerge are thinner, more brittle, more superficial, more disorganized, and more vulnerable that those they replace. These plagues rain on the lives of both rich and poor. Many people lead deprived lives in houses filled with material luxury.
Inadequate housekeeping is part of an unfortunate cycle. As people turn more and more to outside institutions to have their needs met (for food, comfort, clean laundry, relaxation, entertainment, society, rest), domestic skills and expectations further diminish, in turn decreasing the chance that people’s homes can satisfy their needs. The result is far too many people who long for home even though they seem to have one.” Page 8

This writer recognizes the comforts of home, based on good common sense. She is a lawyer and homemaker, wife and mother.

I often wonder if our children were kept at home more, they would be more respectful and grateful. Not expecting that we owed them...
Also I beleive we need to be extremely careful of whom we allow our children to be around. I know I have fallen into the trap of trying to make my young son "happy" through activities. I read on this blogg that children need to learn to have a quiet life. I so agree, we do not have television and I am SO thankful, we do have chosen videos but the TV is not on... I like the suggestions of music, drawing and other talents to be developed.
I read a book by CS Lewis, and it was about his childhood and I recall that they did a lot of reading, drawing, music and other activities that really engaged the mind....

Lydia said...

Cherly Mendellson's comment that homes today are more likely to be cleaned only when it is necessary or an emergency brought back some memories. I remember in the early 50's when people cleaned their homes as a part of routine, and not just because it had piled up into a mess. It was like keeping an office in order before the employee quit work. Everything was tidied up, wiped down, and prepared for the next day. Housewives seemed to like their work and did not feel it was a burden. I wonder what happened?

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, I was just thinking about your question - what happened to make people get rid of housekeeping routines, and to create the belief that housework is a negative thing. I believe there are many answers to this societal change, but one thing jumped into my mind immediately. I remember women's magazines in the 1980's, about the time that the "yuppie" phenomenon was taking off with all the dual income families, where articles about "lowing standards for housekeeping" began to appear with alarming regularity. Lowering your expectations of what home should be was actually touted as a way to cope with the exhaustion that women were facing as they tried to contend with a career and a home, and found that they were not able to maintain the home decently as a result.

I know from very hard experience that the moment you begin to lower your standards regarding your home, you are on the beginning of what can be a long, disastrous downhill slide. One thing leads to another. You might think that you're just lowering your standards a little bit, but it's the tiny bit of gravel that starts the avalanche. Leaving the bed unmade leads to the bedroom looking messy - so what harm will be done if you leave dirty laundry on the floor to pick up later (which you never seem to get around to)? And now, since that looks messy, you might as well not bother to dust, after all, the place is already pretty bad, a little dust is no big deal. Leave a dirty dish in the sink, and I swear it will have babies. Before you know it, there will be dirty dishes all over the kitchen, and you'll be facing an enormous task to get them all cleaned up and put away.

I like the old ways, where houses were maintained on a daily blases, not spring cleaned when things got so bad that the Board of Health is about to close down the place. If you keep a home maintained, your daily housework is minimal. Otherwise, those "relaxed standards" just lead to endlessly doing disaster recovery and huge cleanup jobs!

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Work in the home is no longer valued by modern society! Women who stay home are seen to be "parasites" (Betty Frieden's word not mine!)or at least making no real contribution to society! A woman's place is to be part of a cheap, expendable work force. Feminism has "romanticised" the careers of women! Working women are not all lawyers, doctors, university lecturers, journalists. Most are poor, work two jobs, cleaning offices, working in restaurants and call centres. Feminism has done very little for the plight of the poor - it's a middle class movement! Due to the decline of a "single" living wage, combined with the uneasy feeling many of us have about staying at home, the concept of "home" rather than "flop house" is on the decline. Aah I'm ranting. I'm so sorry, but this subject is very close to my heart!

His Grace Abounds said...

I'm in 100 percent agreement. My oldest 2 are 19 and 'almost' 21 (girls). By God's grace, we raised them with social graces in a society (NYC borough) and area that doesn't have alot of polite, kind youth in it!! Our home is orderly. When the home is orderly, the mother's (and father's for when he gets home from work) heart is in a more stable place for her walk with God. How can one teach one's children to be 'still' and know God if the home is a mess? Messiness leads to anxious feelings. The girls' educators always marvelled at their kindness towards others and femininity AND modest dress. One lives in the country now and is doing well in her walk with the Lord. The other lives here at home (she does attend college). "Home" has to be the haven spiritually....but it can't be that if it's in disarray. We have an autistic 9 year old boy. He is calm and happy. This gets noted by his teachers/therapists. I am calm and happy when my home is in order. When not, I am grumpy and it pours down on my children.(AND HUSBAND). Excellent post, as usual (;.

Susan Godfrey said...

Excellent post! I do find that when my home is in order, the happier and more content everyone is. Thanks for the reminder!

Spunky said...

Lydia, I think this is one of the unspeakable areas of homeschooling. The families whose children have walked away from the faith often struggle silently.

Orderliness in the home is definitely one area to work at. I asked my son (15) a while back what advice he would give to parents raising teenagers especially boys.

His answer Don't Bend the Wire. You can click on the link to find out what he meant. It is what I keep in the forefront of my mind.

MegLogan said...

Please post on your activities in streamlining! I need to do this too, but my mind is not naturally inclined toward organization. (Im really quite bad at that and need others to help me out!)

I need to get rid of some stuff, my 1400 sf just are bursting at the seams it seems like!

Mrs. Meg Logan

Anonymous said...

You know, whenever I hear someone carp about housewives, nowadays I think of my father's job (from which he retired, thankfully).

His job was in the IT department for an oil company, and their function was fully support: they had to maintain the systems, repair them as quickly as possible, and SAVE MONEY. He was the best at coming up with ways to cut costs without cutting corners.

But they changed the pay/bonus system a little while before he retired: they based it on division earnings. In short, they said to the IT department: "You didn't make any money this quarter; in fact, you were a loss to us. Why should we reward you for costing us money?"

Most folks I tell that story say "How short-sighted that is! That's not fair!" But they don't see that when they run down SAHM's, they are doing the same thing: "You didn't draw a paycheck this week, so obviously you're a parasite. You only cost money." Never mind that operating costs go way-y-y-y down when a wife really does her job well...

Mrs. Bartlett

Father's Grace Ministries said...

Dear Mrs Sherman,
I'm new to the blogosphere, after being a passive onlooker for quite a while. You have been such an encouragement & a blessing to me. I'm an older Mum(38)with a young family & Knew nothing about children before I had them! I have gleaned so much from your blog & LAF & as well have found some other wonderful blogs via LAF too. Titus 2 type ministries are rare where we live!
My hubby has started a blog for me on our family ministry site
You might like to have a look at our linking website too. My husband has by the grace of God started up a Christian Charity in Malaysia.
God Bless,