Recently, Miranda and I watched a TV show (Still Standing) where parents were competing to have the house where all the kids hung out. It became a contest to see who could buy the bigger and better toys. Pretty funny.
Miranda and I have always said that we wanted our house to be the “Hangout House.” We pray that our home will be a place where kids feel comfortable. A place where they want to be. We pray that they feel welcome and a sense of the peace and joy that we take in each other.
Growing up, our house was that way. Mom and dad made sure that we had lots of fun toys (pool table, trampoline, motorcycle, above ground swimming pool, etc.) so our friends wanted to come to our house, but ultimately, it was the way they were treated by my parents that brought them back. It was the love in our home that made them continue to show up. As a matter of fact, there’s a part of me that thinks they our house would’ve been the Hangout House even if we hadn’t had any of those big toys. My parents worked to create a home where we could express ourselves and play freely. My parents wouldn’t have encouraged all of our activities, but they did let us push the envelope a bit.
By the way, boys need adventure and risk as a part of their play. They don’t day dream and imagine secure safe homes with dolls like girls do, but instead they dream of fighting epic battles and winning the beauty against the greatest of odds. Risk and adventure should be not only allowed but even encouraged in their play so they can become the men of God our world so desperately needs.
Anyway, in our house growing up, we laughed a lot and we played hard. We pulled sleds with four-wheelers, and built skate ramps and stereo boxes. We jumped from the roof of the house to the trampoline and from the trampoline to the pool. (One time our friend Paul ended up with his head in the pool, his feet between the trampoline springs, and his chest imprint on the metal wall of the pool.) We also used to put soap on the trampoline and throw balls at the people jumping. Our driveway became a basketball court almost every Sunday afternoon. We made strange videos and built jumps for our bikes. We had an annual epic water balloon war on Halloween. Now, I wouldn’t say that all of these things were safe, but they were all really fun! The way we played was an expression of who we were.
As a parent, I want to know my kid’s friends. I want them to know me too. I hope we’re able to spend time together so we can begin to influence each other and the best way for that to happen is for my house to be full of love and joy and laughter and playfulness.
Since I’m just a big kid myself. I’m excited about the years ahead. Maybe daddy will get some toys too.
Check out these Scriptures too: Deut 6:6-9; Prov 17:1; 21:9; 24:3; 1 Tim 1:6; 2 Cor 2:14-16