by Lynn M. Griesemer
Home is a place of freedom and comfort. Yet so many adults flee the home in search of money, meaning and self-fulfillment. I see so many busy people around me; parents with good intentions schedule all kinds of activities for their children. I often wonder what they are racing after and suspect that all of these frenetic behaviors are ways of avoiding silence and deep contemplation. There doesn’t seem to be a lack of material goods and creature comforts, but there is a real yearning for love, intimacy and healthy relationships. All of this can be found in the home, but families must be willing to strive for simplicity amidst all the distractions. I used to think that homelife was unglamorous and boring when I was in the workforce. Important things only happen outside the home – so I thought. Building a strong homelife is what makes for successful marriages, strong families and a strong society. As homeschoolers, we are developing strong relationships with our children while siblings are developing strong relationships with each other. We are putting forth a full-time effort.
Embracing a home-centered life is often a slow evolution for many because home-centered lifestyles are not encouraged in our culture. Material desires and consumer habits often “require” that both parents work. Work is portrayed as more glamorous while staying home is viewed as menial. When we spend time in the home, we not only eliminate the distractions and noise in life, but we can take time to ask ourselves the important questions in life and how we can best serve the family and others. People with hectic lifestyles seem to return to the home to recharge their batteries for another day of life apart from each other.
Much of the work we do as adults, to improve upon ourselves and our relationships, can be attributed to experiences from childhood. The home is the first and central place where we form values, virtues, and a view of the world. The home provides the foundation for our emotional development. You can see why it is necessary to devote a lot of time and energy to a home-centered life!
Developing a home-centered life may begin with a conscious choice to homeschool or homebirth. It may begin with an unexpected illness, accident or unemployment. Those who see the value, opportunity and serenity of spending more time in the home frequently expand their homelife. Moms who leave the workforce to raise children sometimes decide to homeschool. After the family has enjoyed a homeschooling lifestyle for a few years, there may be a yearning to create a home-based business. We don’t withdraw from society or isolate ourselves from the world, but become detached from fast-paced and institutional living in order to develop a keener understanding of life and the world we live in.
I believe we would have more global peace if people had more love in their hearts and if families lived home-centered lives. Think of a world where children were seen as blessings and not possessions or hinderances; where young children witnessed and were taught about babies, breastfeeding and committed relationships; where children were required (and actually desired) to show concern and respect for the environment, the poor, the powerless, the unborn, the elderly. What about a world where individuals solved their own problems and took responsibility rather than turning to “experts,” lawyers, doctors or the government without first exhausting their resources and social network? How about a world that didn’t put so much emphasis on grade point averages, IQ scores, SAT scores, appearances, salary level?
If we do not develop strong relationships within our families, along with a sense of commitment and sacrifice, we will continue to see a high divorce rate, selfish behavior, greed, and the darker sides of human behavior. We need more attachment parenting and less detached parenting. World harmony evolves out of family harmony.
Institutions are too often dehumanizing and are meant to serve the masses, not the individual. As long as we continue to submit to institutional living (babies born in hospitals, day care, school, convalescent homes), we will pull farther away from developing the family unit into a strong, powerful force. “The family”– or building block of society — has crumbled, save for a few families (like homeschoolers) who have the wisdom to know and act on what is really important.