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The Heart at Home
by Sandra Renee Hicks 
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Peace at home is precious treasure. Demonstration of love, harmony, and joy on the home front is priceless and a delight to experience. The family dynamic is major for developments that span far beyond the walls of dwellings. What happens in families affects much that develops in society. Family discord proves to be harmful on multiple levels. Itís vital for our future that we strive, in earnest, to contribute what is beneficial for wholeness in the family structure.

Mutual respect should be the order of every day. Kind extensions go far in relationships. When weíre sensitive to the needs and desires of others, the results can be constructive for the positive unity that should be our aim. Inevitably, disagreements do arise; what makes the crucial difference is how we respond to them.

Adults in homes have a responsibility to set the tone of behavior in households. We are accountable to exhibit decent conduct to teach the youth how to live honorable lives. Courtesy should regularly be on display in homes. Parents and guardians have roles to promote respect, and to habitually help to do all that is essential for wholesome family existence. Team objectives should start at home. Every team member has stakes in accomplishments to win. Winning emerges when combination positive efforts and deeds assure victories. Life being what it is, not every situation will result in instant agreement, gratification, or answers. Winners, though, rise above obstacles and press on to advance.

People yearn, on different levels, to feel secure. We expect where we dwell to be a safe refuge from what we encounter outside of where we retreat for foundational love, confidence, validation, and comfort. Far too often, people reside in places that are fraught with discord and division as the dominant disposition. Itís a great relief that some people excel in spite of consistent negative family ordeals. The heartbreaking reality is that too many youth donít escape the damage done by the adults in their lives. Increasingly, the family breakdown is a prime contributor to the menaces in our society.

Hope for family solutions is possible when we decide to build up what, for many, has largely been neglected. Our duty is first to examine individually where we fail then to positively change, the best that we know how, what is defective in character. No, we cannot change everything, but certainly we can change something. When weíve sufficiently dealt with individual aspects, we can effectively deal with issues as a collective unified body of people whose primary common denominator is decent and healthy families.

We can commit to regularly show love and respect to others. We can pledge to have mindsets that operate in excellence for all in which weíre involved. We can purpose to be steadfastly honest in the whole of our affairs. We can be consistently reliable. Our reputations should be such that itís clearly known that, faithfully, weíre people of honorable character with proven integrity. Our commitment in those important areas will surely impact youth who witness our constant quality behavior.

In the days of my youth, it was a frequent occasion to have family meals at the table together. It was common in my home to have breakfast and dinner as a family. The memories are fond of those periods of bonding. We had food prepared from fresh sources; no microwaving then! I can remember mornings being in bed and breathing in the aroma of Mamaís delicious cooking. The scents would summon me to the kitchen. Together, after meals, our family would wash and dry the dishes.

My mother, Helen, in so many ways, was love in action. For years she was a housewife. It was a solid pleasure to have her present when we returned home from school. A flood of gratitude comes to mind for my motherís choice to be home for her children. Words cannot adequately convey how meaningful it was to have her there as a steady constant.

One day of snowfall, when I was in class in elementary school, my mother entered the classroom and told the teacher that sheíd come to bring me some soup. I felt such warmth and joy from her loving gesture in the presence of my teacher and classmates. As a teenager, one evening I didnít return home when due there. I was outside with my boyfriend. I was unpleasantly surprised to see my mother come down the street, with determined purpose, to get her daughter! She humiliated me in front of my friends. The following day they teased me about my motherís arrival and public correction. Today, the memory brings forth appreciation for how she loved and disciplined me.

Another teenage episode involved me getting injured while on a group bus trip in New York City. My mother drove from Washington, D.C. to New York to bring me home for medical treatment. I wasnít injured to an extent that I couldnít have traveled home on the bus. Mama wasnít having that; she came to get her baby!

How about those Sunday drives, people? Families would get in family cars and go for rides. Destination? Not necessarily anywhere, just riding. It was a simple practice but special in our togetherness. Our father named our car ďBetsy.Ē When my daddy would arrive home from work, weíd go running to the door to meet him. A friend of mine told me that he and his siblings would eagerly watch from their house front window for their mother to arrive home from work. When she appeared, theyíd go running to greet her. I once asked that same friend what was his fatherís hobby. His reply, ďHis children.Ē That deeply affected me.

Back in the day, we kids went to Sunday school, Sunday services, and Bible study. We learned Bible Scriptures. At mealtimes, in my home, before eating, weíd thank God for our food, and recite Bible verses. My mother often stressed to us our duty to love and serve God.

In my neighborhood, we engaged in community recreation activities. We kids would jump rope, play hop-scotch and jacks while the adults sat on front porches talking and watching us frolic. We got involved in programs at recreation centers and went to the library. My father, at home, would drill me and my sister on multiplication exercises. We watched family programs that promoted love, sharing, discipline, respect, and responsibility.

Yes, those are past experiences. It would do us good now to restore some of those habits because they did foster family and community spirit. In the Holy Bible in Genesis 4:9, Cain asks God, ď...Am I my brotherís keeper?Ē The answer, people, in many aspects, is a resounding ďYes!Ē

So many fathers are absent from the lives of their children. Particularly, those absences have negative impact on male children because as effective as some mothers are, they cannot be a male presence. Ideally, both parents should be in homes with their children. Thatís not always possible. When itís not possible, the parents who live elsewhere should assure quality involvement in the lives of their children. Child support isnít nearly enough to compensate for lack of quality hands on parental involvement.

Another issue is parents who are in the home but neglect to sufficiently engage with their children. Also, itís wrong for separated parents to negatively portray one another to their children. That type of divisive behavior doesnít benefit anyone. Children need a steady diet of love, affection, discipline and validation from those who should be the closest to them. It deeply disturbs their fragile hearts and minds when they donít feel the love, care, discipline and support from their parents, and other adults in their lives. Typically, youth thrive in environments that encourage harmony.

When adults display a pattern of dishonesty, it tends to breed contempt and disrespect from youth, especially when the subject adults hold youth to standards to which they themselves donít adhere. A friend once told me of a woman who expressed anger at her (the womanís) daughter for cursing. My friend asked the woman if she cursed. The woman became angry at the question because, obviously, the woman did curse yet told her daughter that it was wrong to curse. Then there are the parents who teach their children not to lie but lie themselves, and their children know it. Those same parents get angry when their children lie to them. There are too many mixed messages being transmitted to youth. Is it any wonder that some of them are rebellious and wayward?

In situations when youth live with parents who donít demonstrate self respect, it often results in disrespect from the youth. Years ago, I knew a woman who was habitually disrespected by her husband. She told me that her two daughters didnít respect her because they witnessed how she allowed their father to disrespect her. Another woman told me that she finally left her disrespectful husband when her teenage daughter questioned why she stayed with him. She shared that she left her husband, largely, because of her daughter. She didnít want her daughter to continue to live in a household where disrespect was the norm.

Adults frequently complain about how promiscuous, disrespectful and rude the youth have become. The blame for some of that is rightly placed with adults because kids donít create a lot of what is distributed by media resources. Advertisements are sexually suggestive. Programming celebrates disrespect. Commercials champion greed and selfishness. Magazines print provocative photography. Kids raised in the most wholesome of homes cannot escape the steady stream of unwholesome information that permeates our society. Add to that the increase in exposure of indecent conduct exhibited by adults, cheating, robbing, lying, violence, and other such perverse behavior. Is it any wonder that youth are where they are spiritually, mentally, and physically?

A major target that causes displeasure for many adults is the matter of young males who wear sagging pants. Who knows why they dress in such a manner? Could it be because they have sagging hearts and donít know how to channel their insecurities and fears in constructive decent ways? Could it be because they havenít received adequate love and quality attention? Could that be a way that they cry out for help but most people donít care to delve deeper into why the young males display themselves so disrespectfully? Could it be that they hunger for real men in their lives, starting with their fathers, who by examples, teach them how to be real men? Let us re-channel our focus from what they show us outwardly to delve inwardly to discover ways to help heal their wounds, and longing for validation.

Some females resort to dressing provocatively because theyíre seeking love in the wrong ways, from the wrong people, and in the wrong places. The father disconnect is to blame in some aspects there, as well. If real men are present in homes and in the lives of their offspring, lessons can be taught to discourage youth from dressing in ways that indicate that they have little or no self respect. Real men ideally set the tone in their households for acceptable behavior, to include dress choices. Certainly, mothers are valuable for guidance but real men are designed to set the household tone. Women who, as youth, didnít have real men at home or involved in their upbringing arenít fully equipped for relationships with the opposite sex. Often, such women crave male attention in unhealthy ways and, as a result, they resort to desperate methods that can lead to destruction.

I applaud youth who manage to positively flourish in spite of all the drama that daily surrounds them. Further, itís commendable that some have lived destructive lives and made choices to forsake the negativity thatís so prevalent. Many believe that, for them, itís hopeless. We adults need to do more to prove that family isnít just biological. All of us are planet dwellers on this, Godís earth, as such we need to desire and to do more that reaches out to others and less that reaches ourselves. Truly, we should be a family of people who join to win!

Copyright 2012 - Sandra Renee Hicks
This is a chapter excerpt from my e-book, Championship Conduct - Excel in Care, Courtesy and Customer Service available at www.smashwords.com.

My e-mail address is solidjourney@gmail.com. My blog is www.torchblazers.blogspot.com.

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