What's hanging on the walls of your home?

What hangs on the walls of your home may well hang in the minds of your children for years to come. Use this tool to guide them in the direction you want them to go.

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  • We heard a religious leader ask this question: What do you have hanging on the walls of your home that will motivate and inspire your children? He told about a family home that was filled with pictures of boats, ships, and sailing vessels. Then he asked, "Was it any wonder that their son chose to join the navy?" That's not a bad choice, but the problem was that was not what they wanted for their son. They had hoped he would choose college and a business career.

  • We're not sure how much affect these pictures may or may not have had on his decision, but it is true that what we are surrounded with will influence our decisions. It can fix an idea into our children's minds, whether we want it to or not. If we want them to love nature, beautiful pictures of mountains, lakes, flowers and trees cannot help but plant a desire to want to enjoy the beauties of nature throughout their lives. Since nature is healing and peaceful, that's a good thing. Everyone needs a little of that in their lives.

  • Develop patriotism

  • One family wanted to help instill patriotism in the hearts of their child. They choose one room in their home to decorate with patriotic themes. There was a large, dramatic painting of the Statue of Liberty, a picture of George Washington kneeling in prayer, a bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln, and other pictures and artifacts that opened the door for teaching. They took the opportunity to tell their children what these symbols and patriots meant to them, and how vital they were in founding their country, the United States of America. They wanted to instill a love of country into the hearts of their children, and this was one way to help make it happen.

  • Develop faith

  • If you want to teach a love of God in your home, show it by what you put on your walls. Christian families often hang paintings of Christ as portrayed in stories from the Bible. It gives them an opportunity to tell that story and others of the things Christ has taught and done for them. In addition to pictures, Catholic families hang crucifixes on their walls to remind them of Christ's sacrifice for them. Mormon families, along with paintings of Christ, often hang pictures of their sacred temples to remind their children to live worthy to go there. Many Jewish families have a menorah (a seven-branched candelabra), in their home to remind them of light, wisdom, and divine inspiration. Many also have a mezuzah on their doorpost reminding them of Hebrew verses from the Torah.

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  • These religious symbols can help children remember the faith of their parents and create a desire to hold to these traditions in their own future homes. Building faith in God through these means can assist in bringing comfort and peace into your children's lives.

  • Develop talents

  • If you want your children to develop musical talent, besides having the instruments available, consider having pictures that will inspire the development of musical talent. For example, if you have a picture of yourself or a close relative playing at a concert or recital, frame it and hang it up so the kids can ask you questions about it. Take a picture of your child playing their favorite instrument, frame it and put it up as an additional incentive. If you or they have a favorite composer or performer consider hanging a picture of him or her for all to see and be inspired.

  • Maybe your child is more inclined toward other forms of art. Hang copies of paintings of well-known and respected artists so they can see what others have accomplished. Some libraries have these pictures that you can borrow and put on display for a time. Let them see what excellent art looks like. Of course, you can take them to art museums to see such works, but having some hanging on the walls of your home is even better. When you visit an art exhibit, consider buying a copy for the express purpose of keeping the memory alive in your home. If painting or drawing is a passion of your child's, hang some of her best work for all to see. It's a great way to let your children know how much you admire and respect their talent.

  • Use sayings

  • Sometimes the perfect saying feels just right for your family. Many of these can be found in hobby shops and craft stores. Or you can print out your own and frame it. A favorite family saying can stay in the mind of your children for the rest of their lives. A friend of ours saw just such a saying beautifully embroidered, framed and hanging in another friends' home. It simply said, "Love is spoken here." Someone else had this hanging on her kitchen wall: "Life is fragile, handle with prayer." Whatever you want your children to remember can be framed and displayed on the walls of your home.

  • Make it happen in your home

  • Look around your house today and see what you have hanging on the walls of your home that will inspire your children to make good choices, to develop their talents, and to increase their faith. It's a simple thing, but can be a powerful reminder and inspiration for your family members. Start today to consider what you want to hang on the walls of your home that will have a lasting influence for good on your children.

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Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer. Together they author books on relationships.

Website: http://garyjoylundberg.com

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