“Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.”
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘more things are caught, not taught’, but we forget it so often in our parenting, educating and home making. Atmosphere is a powerful tool when building a home and raising children.
I wasn’t home educated, and actually I don’t have many stand-out memories from school, it just kind of happened (and it got me through), but I do remember my home life fondly. I particularly remember the spiritual atmosphere of our home.
I remember seasons of my parents being particularly intentional with their ‘teaching’ us about the bible and gathering the family for prayer or worship but what has marked my heart and mind was the atmosphere of our home and our life together. I loved waking up to worship music gently playing in the dining room as my Dad was making porridge and preparing for work. The sound of my mum singing around the house and thanking God for every bargain we came across or gap in a busy road will ever be in my mind and now my practice. There wasn’t a split second after the mention of illness or talk of losing an important school book around the house when they didn’t say ‘let’s pray about it’. If any of us happened to wake before our parents got out of bed and creep into their room, you could guarantee you’d be greeted by my joyful mother sat in bed, sipping tea and reading her bible. If my Dad’s study door was closed we knew he was having his ‘quiet time’; his devotion to daily connecting with God has impacted my life greatly.
My family had a very open home to hospitality; if we had room and someone needed one then we welcomed them in, and they became part of the family! My mum was and still is great at sharing whatever is in the cupboard, whether little or plenty, it will always stretch. She’s renowned for saying ‘even if it’s just jam and bread you can share it’. In a pinterest culture where we’re so blinded by perfect meals and pristine homes we need a bit more of this ‘jam and bread’ attitude in our lives!
Life wasn’t perfect but it was safe, our home wasn’t always quiet but it was peaceful.
In the midst of so much intentional teaching and training in my home educating days with my children I am daily challenged to keep check on what they may be gleaning from the patterns of my life and the rhythms of my day ( and the volume of my voice)!
We need more faces than phones, more music than mayhem, more prayer than panic and when we’re drowning under the daily dire – we need to be anchored in devotion.
Our hearts are the catalyst for the rhythm of our homes; what’s in there will spill out into our work, our speech and our activity.
Maybe it’s time to examine our hearts?
Christmas is a perfect time to create beauty, pace and an atmosphere that will be remembered – why not start today, make peace and form memories than some day your children may blog about (wink).
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life – Charlotte Mason