November 29     

Today's quotation:

Every one of us needs a home.  The world needs a home.  There are so many young people who are homeless.  They may have a building to live in, but they are homeless in their hearts.  That is why the most important practice of our time is to give each person a home.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Today's Meditation:

In a way, I grew up without a home.  Of course, home was where my family was, but only my immediate family-- we moved pretty constantly because my father was in the military, and we never had any place that we as a family could call home.  So we made our homes wherever we were, and we did our best to make them good homes.  This dynamic in my life has often made me wonder what life would have been like if I had had a home, and whether or not I would still continue to be moving rather often as an adult.

My wife and I are pretty good at making wherever we happen to be into a very nice home, a place that feels welcoming and comfortable.  We like to do our best to make the places we live as homey as we can, so that we feel good there and so that anyone visiting us can feel welcome and at ease.  The world of today, though, doesn't seem to value the concept of homes-- people are moving around much more than ever before, even within towns and cities, and many young people have no idea what stability means.

I know what home means to me, even if I grew up not having a stable one-- at least I had a home.  It's difficult for me to imagine being a young person without a home, though.  It's hard for me to think about a kid who doesn't have a bed of his or her own, a kitchen that he or she can call their own, places that they're used to being and where they feel comfortable and safe, at least.  These places don't have to be mansions, of course, but for our children, homes are extremely important.  It must be very difficult indeed to grow up without that stability, and then be expected as an adult to provide stability for others-- or even to be consistent in their own lives.

We can't all just provide a home for homeless youth.  There are personal and social and cultural and legal issues to consider when we think of who can live in our own homes.  But as a society we need to do better with the ways that we're providing for our young people.  And as individuals, we need to be sure that the home we're providing for our own families is definitely that-- a home-- and not just a roof over the heads of our family members.  People need homes, and it's up to us as responsible adults to provide just that for the young people in our lives.

Questions to consider:

Why does the concept of "home" seem to have diminished so much in recent years?  Why do people place less importance on the idea?

How do you define "home"?  Where does your definition come from?

Why do we have so many homeless people in our world, even though there are so many empty houses around?

For further thought:

My home. . . It is my retreat and resting place from wars, I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner in my soul.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

more thoughts and ideas on home



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