It is an honor to be invited into a person’s home. The moment you enter the front door you are ushered into the place where they live, love, celebrate, and surround themselves with things that bring them joy. This intimate experience cannot be duplicated in the finest restaurant or beautiful hotel. Home is designed to be a sacred place and a quick few reminders can help everyone enjoy the experience.
Inviting guests into your home requires preparation of your home and your heart. Careful consideration should be given to how you can make your guest feel welcome. A home that is welcoming is clean and family members are kind and inclusive. Here are a few tips for you and your children to ensure your guest feels welcome.
• Greet your guest at the door with a smile and invite them into your home. Avoid simply yelling, “Come in!”
• Introduce your guest to family members, and don’t forget your pets. While you know and love your four-footed sweetie, your guest may have pet allergies or be uncomfortable with an overly eager welcome.
• Offer your guest something to eat or drink. If you are not providing a tour of your home, make sure you let your guest know where the restroom is located.
• Consider what your guest would like to do.
• Include your guest in activities and conversation.
• Walk your guest to the door and thank him or her for coming.
Being a Guest
It is a privilege to be invited into someone’s home, and this generosity should not be taken lightly. Being a host requires a great deal of time, thought, and expense. A thoughtful guest will show they appreciate their host in the following ways.
• R.S.V.P. This is a French term that simply means ‘please reply’. Every invitation deserves a prompt reply.
• Dress appropriately. Be well groomed and choose clothing that is appropriate for the event. Clothing that is inappropriate, sloppy, or too revealing, does not honor your host.
• Be on time. Arriving early, or late, is inconsiderate.
• Bring a hostess gift. Never appear empty handed. A small gift acknowledges the effort of your host.
• Joyfully participate. Participate in positive conversation and the activities that are planned.
• Thank your host. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note.
Being a thoughtful host, or guest, is rooted in your attitude and is demonstrated through your appearance, words, and actions.
As wonderful as guests are, no one can ever replace the valuable relationship of a family member. Civility at home begins with how you treat those who live in your home. A perfectly decorated home where family members treat one another rudely is not a pleasant environment for any guest.
A friend once shared with me that she insisted her children treat each family member as well, or better than, they would treat their most honored guest. This was not negotiable. If one child had a guest over to play and treated a brother or sister rudely, or spoke mean-spirited words to another family member, the guest was sent home and the offender was required to serve the offended. This may include cleaning their sibling’s room, or doing one of their chores. Today, she enjoys the company of five adult children who know how to honor others.
Honor the elderly
In our youth-absorbed culture, the feeble and elderly are often set aside. Remember to include senior family members in conversation, activities, and daily life as much as possible.
Family interactions provide a beautiful environment where each member learns how to demonstrate honor, respect, and value for all other members, and is the perfect place to master the skills of being a good host and guest. Yes, there are times family members can be a challenge, but a spirit of love and respect for each member must never be compromised.
What Would Mrs King Do? Written by Deborah King, © Copyright 2013