Home: We each need a place of refuge

Because the world can be frantic and crazy, we each need a place of refuge, a place where we can "reset, regroup and re-energize to prepare for future pressures." This place should be our home.

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  • Richard G. Scott said, “Many voices from the world in which we live tell us we should live at a frantic pace. There is always more to do and more to accomplish. Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup and re-energize to prepare for future pressures.”

  • That place of refuge could be and should be our own homes. Here are five steps to make your home a refuge.

  • Slow down

  • At the end of a busy day, pause for a moment before entering your home. Take a deep breath, and leave your frantic pace at the doorstep. Sit down to eat dinner together as a family. Ask family members about their day, and really listen to their answers.

  • Take a good look at your family's schedule. Evaluate each activity. Ask yourself, “Is this essential? Is this activity blessing our family or harming it?” Ask family members to make choices. Does your daughter really need to take piano lessons, play volleyball and be on the dance team all at once? Consider your own activities. Are they a healthy outlet, or an excuse to get away from the pressures of home? Try to eliminate some activities so your schedule is less hectic.

  • Be kind

  • Contention is the enemy of peace. Set an example of kindness. Arguments arise in every marriage, but there is a way to resolve conflicts without hurting each other. Avoid arguing in front of your children.

  • Alvin Price said, “Parents need to fill a child's bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can't poke enough holes to drain it dry.” Praise your child and tell him that you love him. Celebrate her individuality, and don't compare her to her perfect big brother. Show interest in his interests. Spend time with him. Teach and discipline your child with kindness.

  • Have fun

  • The family that plays together, stays together. CBN.com says that playing together is an essential trait of happy, healthy families. When families play together, they lighten up, relieve stress, build memories and share moments of intimacy.

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  • Choose one night a week to have fun together as a family. Play board games or go out to a movie. Ride bikes around the neighborhood, or have a picnic at the park. Fly kites, play a game of basketball or visit the library. Bake goodies. Be sure to keep some for yourselves then take the rest to a neighbor.

  • Ask family members what kind of activities they would like to do for your family night. You can let family members take turns choosing a game or activity.

  • Unplug

  • Electronics are a blessing, but they can also hinder us from connecting with each other. In addition, studies have shown that too much time spent with electronics such as video games, computers and cell phones may cause sleep disturbances.

  • Set rules and limit the use of electronics. Make your dinner table an electronics-free zone. Turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed. Do not let your teen take her cell phone to bed with her. Unplug every day, and use those breaks to connect with each other.

  • Beware

  • Making your home a refuge will not happen overnight, and there are forces out there that will try to sabotage your efforts. Be aware of the influences that you allow into your home. Ask yourself if this music or TV show will enhance the environment you are trying to create or detract from it. Don't be afraid to turn the channel if you feel uncomfortable with what is coming into your home. Invite your children's friends into your home, but expect the same standards from them. Be firm in your determination, and stick to your rules and expectations.

  • When your home becomes a refuge from the world, remarkable things happen. Your children are happy to be there. They fight less and enjoy each other's company more. They grow in strength and self-esteem. They are able to face the world with confidence. They are able to reset, regroup and re-energize. Then they are prepared to go out and do great things in the world.

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Shelli Howells is a creative fiction writer, and a mother of six.

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