We noticed that there’s a lot of “coming home” going on around here. Birds that left for the winter, such as geese, ducks and red-winged blackbirds are coming home.
We also noticed “snowbirds” are coming home – people returning from where they spent winter in warmer climates.
These observations got us thinking about the word “home” and what it means to people.
In 1823 John Payne wrote the familiar saying, “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” So what is it that makes home so special? Perhaps it’s because it is familiar, routine and somewhat predictable. You can have more control. Home can be a sanctuary. It provides security, a sense of identity and privacy. Home can be an emotional refuge.
Some families have so much going on that their home might not be a relaxing retreat, but there’s still a sense of belonging, acceptance and love.
Those feelings of being loved and accepted are also sometimes gained through friends, neighbors and even pets. Regarding pets, it has been said, “Coming home to friends with wagging tails and loving hearts makes every day a good day.”
Objects or places in the home can provide comfort and happy memories. For example, on a yearly basis, some people will mark the height of their children on a door frame. These marks also provide milestones as well as memories. Sometimes gifts and pictures in the home are pleasant to observe and have good memories attached. We have various pictures and objects in our home that were given to us by family and friends. These things bring loving feelings for those individuals.
When we were children, our parents took us on trips. We all enjoyed the travels, but when we returned, parents would often say, “It’s good to be home.” As adults we still say that. It also feels nice to sleep in your own comfy bed.
We have fond memories of childhood homes where we had secret hiding places. Doug’s childhood home had a cracked brick in the wall leading to the cellar where he could hide “secret treasures.” I (Lynn) lived in a home where I hid a “time capsule” of goodies behind a built-in buffet. We wonder if those treasures are still there.
Anywhere can feel like home. Some people feel that home is within themselves. If there are also caring people around, this can reinforce good feelings. Perhaps the most important part of a feeling of home is the love of family and people that live with or near you. This is evidenced by the popular phrase, “Home is where the heart is.”
We talked to some people regarding their thoughts about home. We met Jordan Scholzen and asked him what home means to him. He answered, “Really, home for me is more about the company you keep, the people you put around you, rather than a singular idea. You can be anywhere and call it home if you have the right people in place. I think that’s the most important aspect of it.”
Jordan mentioned that he came from a town of 300 people, so we asked him what made it seem like home there. He replied, “Living in a town that size is like a campground, almost. It’s where everyone knows your business but everyone is so close. When I go home everyone wants to see me and it warms the heart a bit.” We are glad Jordan can find a home wherever he is.
Then we met Elsa Haines and asked her what makes a home. She said, “Home for me means just spending time with family and friends and dogs. Dogs are a big part of it. Just spending time with the people you love and doing things together, talking. Spending time with those you care about.” We thought it was fun to hear that dogs are part of her home experience.
Elsa offered, “There are lots of dogs. Sometimes I think too many dogs – but you can never have too many dogs.” It sounds like there’s lots of fun and caring going on in her home.
We learned what is important to Jordan and Elsa about their home experience. What about you? What is your experience of home?
Here’s a challenge: We encourage you to decide how you want your home to be. Then take action to make it so. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” We wish you a safe and happy home filled with love and dreams.