“Mommy, I’m home!” two-year-old Ethan hollered. He had just been to Sunday School and was returning to the class room where is own mother was the teacher. Considering where Ethan had just been, where he was and where he was going, perhaps those words are more profound than we realize.
Home is Where the Family Is
We all long to be home, and even Ethan knows that home is where Mommy – or family – is. In this modern age, families can feel at home even if they are not physically together. A college student feels at home when they receive a care package. Grandparents feel at home when they get homemade cards from the grandchildren. Children feel at home when they are connected in some way to their parents, and parents feel at home when all the little chickens are safely in the coop.
Some things to do to foster family bonds:
• Maintain photo albums to teach children about extended family
• Keep a family journal to be read out loud occasionally, reminding ourselves what fun we have as a family
• Keep a family history and pass down our heritage, complete with stories of our ancestors
• Keep family prominently displayed in our home
• Write and telephone extended family regularly
Home is Where God Is
Ethan had just been to Sunday School, and recognized that he was Home. He is being taught about his Heavenly Father and Jesus, and that if he lives a certain way, he can return Home to live with them. What can we do now, as adults, to progress on our journey Home? The same thing that we teach our children: Scripture reading, prayer, and living according to God’s commandments. Choose good friends and treat others kindly.
Some things to do to improve our journey home:
• Pray on a regular basis
• Read scriptures daily; better yet – FEAST upon the word by studying it
• Do a good deed daily – or more
• Learn and keep God’s commandments
• Love one another
Home is Where We Feel Safe
Ethan felt at home at church because he felt safe there. Just like the wise man who built his house upon a rock, we feel safest when we are within sturdy dwellings. We feel safe when we are prepared for life to happen. We feel safe when we have back up plans.
We also feel safe on a different level when we are with those we love and who love us. Ethan knew he was surrounded and protected by people he loved and could trust. Like him, we want to be with family when we are in danger, but we also call upon the Lord at those times. As the saying goes – there are no atheists in foxholes!! His presence makes us feel safe and secure wherever we are and whoever we are with.
Some things to do to feel safe:
• Plan ahead and be prepared
• Have emergency plans for fire and tornado, and practice those plans regularly
• Have a list of contacts phone numbers in a convenient place
• Have emergency supplies stocked up and easily accessible
• Establish and/or maintain a relationship with God (see previous list)
We Must Actively Teach our Children To Feel Safe
Children do not automatically feel safe. How can they unless they experience it first? That occurs when they are infants, swaddled and cuddled. As they grow, there are specific things we can do to help our children feel as safe as Ethan.
• Teach them that Heavenly Father loves them.
• Teach them the names of all the people in their lives that love them
• Teach them how to always get in touch with you, provide them access, and RESPOND IMMEDIATELY, regardless of where you are or who you are with
• Teach them how to get in touch with all the other people that love them
• Teach them the family safety plans
Are We Doing All We Can to Go Home?
Ethan is doing all he can to return home – to his mother at church and to his Heavenly home – by trusting his parents. We must trust our Heavenly Father in the same, childlike way. If we do that, we will feel safety here, and safety there!