I recently mused: A house is a roof over your head, but a home is so much more. To me, home is a very special word. It indicates a place of belonging, a place of love, a place of safety, a place of sacrifice, and a place of peace.
A house is something you build with your hands. It is tangible. A home is also built, but it takes much more intricate, ongoing effort of not only hands, but hearts as well.
Each person who puts his heart and soul into the building of a home might be called a homemaker.
We’ve all heard that word before. Most of us think of this term the way Merriam-Webster does: a wife who does work (such as sewing, cleaning, or cooking) at home and usually does not have another job outside the home.
Sewing, cleaning, and cooking are valuable skills, but alone, they cannot create this sacred place called home.
No, it takes more than that, and it takes every member of the family. I like to think of my family as a team. For our team to be the best it can be, each member must be wholeheartedly devoted to winning the game of life and achieving the joyful victory of being an eternal family.
Not every person in the home team will have the same obligations and roles, but each position, from father to toddler, is essential to win the game.
In our family night last night, my husband and I asked our children what they can do to make our home a happier place.
My ten-year-old, Casey, gave some good answers. He said that he can do nice things for his brothers instead of annoying them. He can help make mom and dad’s lives easier so we have more time to spend together. He can cooperate instead of argue, and let his brothers have their way sometimes.
I loved his answers. He isn’t perfect at any of those things, but I can tell that he truly wants to make this positive contribution to the family he loves. Usually he is a wonderful member of the team, and is a huge helper.
We asked our four-year-old, Rigel, the same question. My husband asked him how he could make Daddy happy, and he said, “Destroy you.” That is a game that they play together. We laughed about it, but to him, playing with his daddy is a way to make our home a happier place.
Several times Rigel has picked flowers for me from outside. Jad asked him why he does that, and he said because he loves Mommy.
He also holds his little brother’s hand sometimes. He often shares his toys, and he does help clean up. He likes to watch us cook, and he likes to play with us. He wants everyone to be happy, and gives good hugs and kisses. He is usually polite, and is good at saying “thank you.”
Kamren, our two-year-old, did not answer the question, of course. He just smiled his adorable, yet mischievous smile. He makes our home a happier place by giving kisses and hugs, cuddling, desiring to learn and be taught, and by making us laugh.
We asked Casey how we can make our home better, and he said to spend more time together. That is really so important. A family whose members are always separate don’t have a chance to talk together, laugh together, listen to each other, play together, cuddle together, or learn from each other. Spending time together shows we love each other and put each other first.
Jad and I want our home to be a holy place, so do our best to have weekly family home evenings, pray as a family and individually, and study our scriptures daily.
Everyone except Kamren takes turns praying for meals or family prayer, but even he knows to fold his arms and bow his head. Casey takes his turn reading scriptures each night. We try to get Rigel to repeat verses too. Even at young ages, our kids know that praying and scripture study are a part of our day to day lives. They remind us to do it too.
Jad is a holder of the Melchizedek priesthood, and has the authority to give priesthood blessings. Our children have so much faith. They know that when they are sick or sad, they can ask for a blessing. Rigel is especially good at asking for blessings for himself or someone else who is sick. Casey and Rigel both received father’s blessings before they started school this year. These blessings offer them comfort and strength.
Here are some other things that we encourage every member of our home team to do:
- Help clean and tidy the house.
- Pitch in during meal times, either by cooking, setting the table, or cleaning up.
- Show affection and respect to each member of the family.
- Be discerning of each other’s moods, needs, and desires. Be a good listener.
- Only bring in uplifting pictures, books, movies, and music into the house.
- Have a positive attitude, and try not to complain.
- Keep the commandments of God.
There are countless ways each family member can help make the home a sacred place. If only the mother worked hard to be a homemaker, and nobody else participated, there would be less cheer and a lack of the Spirit.
As Bonnie Oscarson said, “What a difference it would make in the world if all people would see themselves as makers of righteous homes.”
The next time you hear the term homemaker, smile with pride knowing that you are one.