I had no idea that it had been hanging there since Aug 2009!
A number of people asked if I still had the original so they could get a better look at it. So, here it is:
Treasuring Our Homes and Our Families
Peggy L. Lauritzen
I love my home and my family.
The world I grew up in doesn’t seem to exist anymore. My father went to work and my mother stayed home. Both were productive and were devoted to providing a place that I could feel safe in. The black and white television shows didn’t need to be monitored by my parents, for they were safe. Ward and June Cleaver took the time to teach their boys good morals, Lucy was still learning lessons from Ricky for not thinking things through, and Barney Fyffe was frantically trying to uphold the law while Sheriff Andy Taylor was calmly teaching the community and his boy, Opie how to get along with each other.
It’s difficult to find those elements today, both on television and in our own lives. But, it can be done if we make our homes and our families our number one priority.
We have a solemn responsibility to love and care for our families. The relationship we enter into as husband and wife is second only to the relationship we have with our God. It requires nourishment. It requires patience. It requires putting that person above every other person on earth. Second to that is the relationship we have with our children. When each of our family members enters into their home, it should be a sanctuary and a refuge against everything else.
Growing up in Mansfield has proven to be a blessing. As a youth, I moved to the bigger city of Akron, and eventually the suburbs of Washington, DC, where I met my husband. They were exciting places to live and offered many artistic and cultural opportunities that enriched our lives. But when our family started to come, we both knew we didn’t want to live in a large city.
We came back to my hometown.
It certainly had its challenges. Early on, we decided that we would take the advice of wise ecclesiastical leaders and do whatever we could to keep mom at home. As we grew into a family of six, it took great effort and working together to keep everyone fed and clothed on a single income. There were even times I longed to go back to work to get some rest!
But, we did it. We took advantage of every single opportunity that we could think of that would enrich our lives. Farmer’s markets and pick-your-own fruits and vegetables helped us make ends meet when our attempts at a garden were not always successful. Opportunities for stretching our imagination and learning existed in library programs and used book sales. Watching fireworks and taking part in parades contributed to our patriotism.
On those rare days when all six of us were home together, we would drive short distances to see how people who seemed to come from a different era of time live their lives. We breakfasted by a covered bridge and roasted day-old donuts on a campfire in the backyard while looking up and making shapes out of the clouds. At night, we would marvel at the constellations that can be seen only when it is completely dark – something that one misses living in the city.
Now, those children are gone – mostly off to bigger cities. But, they love reminiscing about home when we talk. In many ways, they have tried to recreate those same simple times of their youth.
It’s just the two of us now. We are best friends, for we nourished our relationship even while raising our four children. We live in a different day than when we raised our children, and certainly different from the times we were raised in. News comes to us daily of terrorism threats, violent weather, violence between people, and the degrading of moral values. But, living in a tranquil area helps me to be able to handle bad news no matter where or who it comes from. A wise man once said “the world sees peace as being without conflict or pain. But, we can have peace amidst the conflict.”
Our homes can be that place where we have peace. As we practice love, faith, prayer, forgiveness, respect, compassion, service, and wholesome lives, we will find that we can have that haven of peace that others will look to and long to have. Exercise those attributes with own selves first. The feelings of being stressed and frantic will always be in front of us – but knowing we have peace in our homes can readily provide the sanctity we need.
Is this a Pollyanna dream? Perhaps. Can it be done? It can. We have the tools and the resources all around us. If we have the desire, there are many ways to make these things happen.
Mansfield News Journal, about August 2009