I would be irresponsible to discuss these ideas as if I had it made. Just so you know.
I found this quote last week:
We are an environment for the other people with whom we live.
-Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking
To create an environment that others would enjoy being part of, I thought of two critical necessities.
Humility, and a sense of humor.
Without these things, we can drown in seriousness.
One of my favorite marriage books has an entire chapter on the wife (and mother’s) sense of humor.
A sense of humor might be likened to a sort of casual sense of balance. It is a mental relaxation…A person without a sense of humor has a sort of mental “charley-horse”. She “tightens up” mentally to the extent that her brain becomes sort of lame, unable to see things in their proper perspective.
-Leo Kinsella, The Wife Desired
I feel I can speak with some authority on this issue, as one who has had one or two “mental charley-horses” already today. Unfortunately, today is only half over.
If people are fortunate to be able to recover their mental equilibrium through a sense of humor, twice blessed are those who can see the humor of situations as they are developing. These people are a joy to themselves, as well as to all who are privileged to know them.
Oh dear. The days when it is not a privilege to know me…
Now back to what Edith is trying to remind the mother about the environment she creates.
Our conversations, attitudes, behavior, response or lack of response, hardness or compassion, our love or selfishness, joy or dullness, our demonstrated trust and faith or our continual despondency, our concern for others or our self-pity – all these things make a difference to the people who have to live in our environment.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes this feels like too heavy of a responsibility. Sometimes I wonder if it matters. I think we only need to look around us on the good days (or the bad, even), and we will find that yes, it is worth every ounce of effort to create a happy home.
It matters terribly to the people who have to spend their days with us. It matters enough to figure out where we left our sense of humor and get back on the apple cart.
The atmosphere in which a child gathers his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents. Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that vague appetency…toward things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine.
-Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children