When I was a little girl, I had a pink room with two windows—one that looked directly into my backyard and another that looked at our neighbors’ home. I had a rainbow comforter, a Strawberry Shortcake doll, and a couple of Care Bears sitting in a row in front of my pillows. Most of my time was spent in that room—I still remember it so vividly.
My home was not a healthy home—it was pretty far from it—and that room of mine, well, it was more of a hiding place, a place where I could sometimes find the peace and solace that I craved. I always longed for a healthy home, even though I had no concept of what one really was. I just knew it was different from what I had.
But, as for today, I DO know what a healthy home looks like, and I know what it consists of. And, I also know that if my home had these 4 essentials, things would have been a lot different for me—which is exactly why I want to share them with you.
1. Everyone is SEEN. Everyone is seen for who they are. The ones with the big emotions and the ones who barely show any. Mom, Dad, the kids—they all get to emotionally express themselves. They aren’t silenced, they aren’t ridiculed, and they aren’t dismissed. They aren’t told their emotions are unnecessary, over the top, or too much. They aren’t told to stop crying. In fact, their tears are seen as a normal reaction to something hard, sad, or painful. They are seen as more than their emotions, and no one ever feels like a bother.
2. Everyone is HEARD. Everyone gets to have a voice that matters, and, when that voice speaks out—people listen. No one has to agree with what is being said, but that voice, no matter how little, how shy, or how loud and afraid, it is important enough to be heard. Respect can still be instilled without a voice being stolen away. There is simply an environment of freedom to express what is really going on with each person.
3. Everyone feels SAFE. When people within a family know they are seen and heard, it begins to produce safety. Safety is formed out of responsiveness. Safety happens when you can have a hard day, and you are allowed to cry or be angry and still be listened to — instead of being sent away, dismissed, or judged. Safety encourages asking for help and leaning on one another. Safety looks for signs of hard days, sadness, or anger. It says, “I have your back, and you can trust that.”
4. Everyone experiences COMFORT. Comfort is having a known place to turn to when life is hard. It is a valuable resource that makes sure no one ever feels alone in their struggles. Comfort teaches us that when hard things happen, we need not fear, because we have a resource. We have someone willing to sit with us, help us, and just be there. Comfort says, “You matter.” Comfort doesn’t sweep things under the rug, dismiss, or lash out in anger; it just offers, well, comfort.
As moms and dads, we have a responsibility to create a healthy home. Most of that effort comes from how we treat one another. When we, as parents, have God in the center of our marriage, we will focus on loving one another well, just as He commands. It will be much easier for us to show grace, compassion, empathy, patience, and love.
So, if you need a starting place, start with your relationship. Do you feel SEEN, HEARD, SAFE and COMFORTED with one another? If not, there’s a high probability your kids don’t feel those things either. Prepare yourself to do what it takes to get your relationship in order. Be willing to work on your marriage, so your kids won’t have to work on theirs.
If you want to see how you’re doing, go check out these tough but necessary questions to ask the members of your family today!