Peace on Earth begins at home

  • Published
  • By Lisa Burner
  • Family Advocacy Outreach manager
Buying gifts, baking cookies and decorating and maintaining a clean home - as a Family Advocacy Outreach manager, I see and understand the challenge of keeping peace during the holiday season.

Sometimes the easiest way to deal with challenges is to pause and look at all possible solutions before taking appropriate action.  Here is a scenario I recently encountered.  

It is another weekend morning, a time for relaxation, rest and recharging. Right?

That is what I thought until I walked into the living room, left not perfect, but in an acceptable condition the night before.  However, now it appears my living room was hit by a tornado.   There are dirty dishes stacked on the couch, tables and around each chair. There are blankets on the floor, and half-full glasses and cans all over the place.

Stewie, the cat, is spinning a glass then licking the exiting contents off the floor.  I think it maybe milk, but it could also have at one time been a milk shake.

I quickly realize my teenagers did not go to sleep at a reasonable hour the evening before, thus the mess and current state of ongoing slumber behind their bedroom doors.

I take a breath, pause the moment and weigh my options.

I can retreat to my clean bedroom, accepting that when the loving children I birthed rise, they will have some work.

Resentfully clean up.  If I go with this choice I will once more have a clean and presentable home on what may feel like a more acceptable time line, but at what price?


Go wake them up, yelling and screaming, until the house becomes my definition of presentable.

Again, I pause and make the choice of a peaceful home.  The mess will be handled as a family when they rise.  We will spend the time together taking pride in our home and learning the responsibility of home belongs to all of those under its roof.

By choosing to retreat, I am granting my children a wonderful learning opportunity: when a mess is made it has to be cleaned up. 

Heading into the holiday season, many parents worry about buying the special gifts and having items to express their love.  A simple choice of peace and teaching responsibility is gift to the home, children and to our future adult offspring that will spread far and wide with them.  

We don’t spoil our children by not punishing them harshly or even by giving them material goods.  We spoil them when we give material things without the benefits of our time and teachings.

We spoil them when we threaten big consequences, but do not follow through because it takes effort. We spoil them when we rescue them and keep them from learning how to make better decisions by experiencing failure.  The teenager who refuses a simple task was at one time the child who never learned the simple lessons of self-reliance, responsibility and personal independence.

We must let our children feel the effects of their own choices, even if it leads to failure early.  This allows them to learn how to overcome and accept they can move forward independently and build a base of resiliency.

Peace at home begins with pause.