Last night after dinner, we had fun talking together as a family about creating a family mission statement – something that defines who we are and what we want our family and home to be. Chris put up a big bit of paper on the wall and we began. First he asked us all to think of things we like about our family. It was great to see all the kids’ hands shoot up and ideas come flying – we love each other, we’re hard workers, we have no TV, we have a lot of fun, we homeschool, we’re a big family and that means lots of friends and lots of presents!! The list went on and on.
Then we started a new list – What are some things we need to work on as a family? Gratifying to see that this was a slower list to create and not nearly as long as the first! Ideas included: Less mean words; get up earlier in the morning; show more respect to each other;be more grateful; monitor computer time better; have better pay rates!! (this from our teenager:) )
Then we created one more list – Words of Importance. Each child had their say: loving; kindness; forgiveness; friends; home; fun; supportive; gezellig.
The last one was mine. This is a Dutch word with a beautiful meaning. I first encountered it in one of Corrie ten Boom’s books. She was asked to describe her family home. She thought for quite a while and then said, “There isn’t a word for it in English. The Dutch word is gezellig. It means cozy, homely, a place of warmth and togetherness; a sense of belonging.”
How beautiful! That is exactly what I want for our home. When we cuddle on the sofa and read a good book together and listen to the rain on the tin roof – gezellig. When we sit around the wood stove and talk about the day – gezellig. When we watch a good movie together – gezellig. When I sit around the table and help the children with their maths – gezellig. When we sit in the evening and have a hot chocolate together and listen to Kate play the piano – gezellig. When we linger around the table after a good meal – gezellig.
It was a lovely night, full of laughter and highjinks. The lists are hanging on our wall and in a couple of days we’re going to have another family meeting and try to put together a family mission statement which will somehow encapsulate it all. I will keep you posted!!