The Lifegiving Home:
Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming
by Sally and Sarah Clarkson
Genre: Nonfiction, Christian living
Summary: Home is where people become who they will be. Every child learns about the world through experiences, rhythms and rituals taught (or caught) in the home. Whether it be through food, celebrations, routines or activities, children learn who their parents want them to become by what they do with them at home.
After raising four of her own children, Sally Clarkson has come to the other side of raising her children: enjoying their company as adult friends. But she would say (as her daughter Sarah would agree) that it was the rituals, routines and rhythms of home that created the environment of comfort, belonging and discipleship that everyone craves. Sally and Sarah together wrote this book about these rituals, not only to offer ideas as a how-to, but also to explain the why.
This book is separated into two sections Thinking About Home and Seasons of Home. Thinking About Home sets the stage and reminds us of the importance of the home. It is not the music lessons, athletic events or foreign languages that will give our kids what they truly need (though none of those things are bad!). Home is a place that creates an environment of belonging, comfort and rest. You learn to be loved and to love. It is supposed to be a haven. We can so easily be distracted by “all the things” that we forget the most basic need we have.
“Each of us longs for a place to belong, a connection that gives roots to our wandering lives. Our hearts hunger for a community where we are intimate members, a sense of belonging to people who love us. Our souls crave a purpose bigger than our jobs, a connection to a sense of meaning. We yearn to know that our stories have significance in the grander scheme of God’s megastory. All of these may be found in home–a place to belong, a people to be a part of, and a purpose where God’s righteousness and design are celebrated and cherished in community every day.” (Sally Clarkson)
The second section, Seasons of Home, offers ideas for routines and rituals that practically show how Sally and her husband created a special home for her four children. Because they were missionaries, they knew they wouldn’t ever have home as a place but the things they did together would mean home to them.
As much as I love Pinterest and all that it entails, Sally’s suggestions are far from that or what parenting magazines tell you to do with your children. I found myself quieted when I read this book and I believe it is Sally’s personality. She describes a slower, quieter life when she describes the rituals her family does together. Maybe that is not her everyday, but you can tell she is very intentional about slowing down to notice, ponder, observe, debate and think and just be with her family.
What I also noticed was Sarah’s contribution. Not only is she a beautiful writer, but she feels such a deep connection to home, though her family lived in multiple states and she now resides in England where she studied at Oxford. You notice how each child delights in being at home because their parents created such a welcoming space, they always wanted to return.
Finally, the simple and attainable ideas presented for each month are offered as just starting points. It is made clear, this is how they do things and certainly not the only way. You are encouraged to find your own rituals and routines that signify who you are as a family. Though the purpose was very clear: whatever you decide, do all for the glory of God alone.
My rating: 5 stars
Have you read any books about creating your own family culture? What are some of your favorite resources for creating a welcoming home?
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