A Home appears to be the most endangered species on earth, especially a home that is governed by the spirit of God; where people relate to one another with the awareness of the presence of God; where everyone feels that God is part of every activity.
What is the difference between a ‘home’ and a ‘house?’ A house is a physical structure, mostly today made of concrete, wood and masonry, whereas a home is a place where a person ‘belongs.’ A home can be a house or an apartment, a thatched hut, a tent, a boat, or a cave.
For soldiers, ‘Coming Home‘ means being with their dear ones; to be with their friends and families; to express their love; to relax and have fun. Soldiers cannot avail leave or vacation whenever they feel like. Their commanding officer has to grant them ‘leave‘. Their returning from active duty is called ‘Home Coming‘ and not ‘House Coming.’ They come to their ‘Hometowns‘ and not to the towns where their house is located.
A home is where the dad and mom are committed to each other in true love, where they nurture their children to know and follow the Lord. This concept of a real home is being threatened by the TV serials of the day, with each channel beaming serials about ‘artificial’ homes with members wearing too much make up and always over-dressed; beaming them with vengeance to the society and to each other. The folks in today’s home watch them without fail, why even the ritual of a family prayer is rescheduled based on the timings of these serials.
A family and a home is not a private limited company of the parents but is a public company where the parents and children, all have equal stakes. Along with the stakes comes duties and responsibilities. It is mandatory for the parents to ensure that they do their bit and also that the children do theirs. Making the children do chores at home, making them participate in all family activities, ensuring that their academic pursuits are successful, encouraging them to pursue their hobbies and interest and also their sporting interests and above all communicating with them to achieve the aforesaid is what the parents got to do.
‘Matha Pitha Guru Deva’ translates into most Indian languages as ‘Mother Father Teacher God’. It owes its origin to the Vedic times and is said to be the greatest truth. It is the order of reverence as laid down by the Hindu philosophy. Today’s generation may call it ‘Matha Pitha Google Deva’
First comes the mother (Matha), obviously as she is the one who carried us in her womb for ten months; developed as into a human being from a mere cell; who gave her essence to create us and brought us into this world. Then is the father (Pitha), as he has contributed 23 chromosomes. Nearly half your traits are inherited from the father. The mother and the father took us to the teacher (Guru), and it is the guru(s), through their teachings, develop our minds and channelise our thinking. All the three have a very important role in identifying our Gods (Deva) and bringing us closer to the God.
How does this ‘God-centeredness’ play itself out in the practical details of everyday life? To a certain extent it expresses itself differently from situation to situation. Every family, like every individual, is a poem written by God, and every poem is unique. But there are some common features we can expect to find in a genuinely God-centered home.
A good home is orderly where peace always prevails. It is simple and is never in chaos. Violence and confusion of the outside world got to stay out. The members of the household must decide on what to come in. The parents got to ensure that the decision to allow ‘what to come in’ must be a joint one, allowing the children to express their point of view and accepting them wherever feasible, even if it at the cost of discomfort to the parents. Every effort must be to ensure that all family activities are aimed at building the ‘Family Spirit’ where each member values and respects others, irrespective of their age and status. Joy is characteristic of a true home. It is much more than happiness and joy is deep-rooted in us. Everyday life of every family member would be different. There would be many obstacles and hardships for each member to circumvent. Here, each family member got to support each other and show the way to get through them.
A home should be safe place where the children can ‘mess up.’ It is surely not a place for ‘perfection.’ The elders must guide the children to come out of the ‘mess‘ they create, so that they are better prepared to face the world outside full of hatred, judgment, sarcasm and violence. A home should be a retreat where the members can find comfort, rest and healing. A place where children can retreat after an event or a failure, where they will not be rebuked or made fun of, especially after a failure or after a bad incident. A scary, stick wielding parent, emanating anger and ever ready to pounce on a kid, is surely not a place any kid would like to return even on a normal or a successful day.
A good home is a place of service. It got to be full of kindness, respect, humility, and love. This is where parents discover that serving each other and helping each other is primary. Parents and children helping each other in daily chores like house cleaning, cooking, laundry – it is all sacred and is the way for a good family. This attitude of helpfulness is carried forward to the outside world and it all begins at home. The children learn from parents and build a positive attitude of selflessness.
A God-centered home is a place where the spiritual disciplines are practiced. It provides an environment where every member of the family learns how to live by studying the scriptures, praying, meditating. etc. A good home is based on God’s purposes for every member of the household. There is a need for every family member to define his Dreams, Aims and Goals. The children must be guided to choose their own educational and career paths and parents should never lead them holding their nose. The tendency of only ‘Engineer or Doctor’ must be avoided. The children got to explore and develop their academic career based on their aptitude, passion and interests. Parents must ensure that they do not try and live their life through their children.
Always remember “God is the head of the home, an unseen guest at every meal, and a silent listener to every conversation.“