When my mom asked me how my parent’s hospitality towards others had affected me as a child, and what I carried from it into adulthood, the first thing I could think of was, “How am I going to condense that enough to be put in a blog?” Haha!
I’m not sure if hospitality was something my mom knew already or something she learned due to not having any choice because my dad was bringing someone home—ready or not! But either way, we were brought up to welcome others into our home and actually make them FEEL welcome.
Some of my fondest memories were when ministers would come to our church to speak and my parents would have them stay in our home rather then a hotel. Most of them had children, and to this day I have so many special friendships with people across the United States because my parents showed them hospitality.
I remember some funny stories and some not so funny. One not so funny was when a very dignified elderly preacher was staying with us and I walked in on him sitting on the toilet (hey not my fault he didn’t know how to lock a door haha!), I was mortified to find out that preachers pooped!
Who would’ve thought it!
Another time I walked in to find a preacher and his family had brought a little black and white TV with them and were watching it very quietly in the room.
If you don’t know yet, we weren’t raised up with a TV, finally getting one when I was a teenager. And we had NO cable because cable was from the pits of hell lol! We were finally allowed to watch old Disney movies like “Ole Yeller” and “Apple Dumpling Gang” on the VCR years later. So, you can imagine my horror in finding a preacher watching “Green Acres” on a TV in Brother Bill’s house.
I was so scared for their souls. I think they survived that judgment last time I heard. (Rolls eyes)
If you’re wondering how we fed all these people and where they slept, well somehow it all got worked out. For instance, one night every bed and piece of floor was occupied, so after wandering through the house looking for a place to sleep, I ended up making a bed in the bathtub.
I loved it! What fun!
It didn’t last long though, as in the middle of the night a guest heard nature calling, and I got bumped to the hallway floor.
I think we had enough beds, blankets and pillows in our home to fill the Arizona desert.
I blame my weight issues on my parent’s hospitality (well someone needs to take the blame ha). My mom only knew how to cook for 15 or more people, so if 15 didn’t show up, we ate the additional servings haha!
Seriously though, my mom was an amazing cook and would make large amounts food for all our guests. Looking back now I realize that my parents really didn’t have the money to do that, but God always supplied and by looking at the Thompson family (minus my little brother Josh because he moved to San Diego and eats Quinoa now) you could tell we never lacked in our pantry.
On a more serious note, I sometimes feel sad that people aren’t as hospitable these days, including myself. We get so caught up in the rush of life and gazing at screens that we forget to look up and see people in front of us needing attention and just a bit of love. Hospitality is a lost art that really needs to be found again.
If you are one that is interested in opening up your life and home to others in your community, then you might be interested in a few tips I have learned from my parents. My mom will be sharing more on her blog.
One thing I learned from their example is not to be afraid to talk to people, to engage.
When we host parties, Bible studies, sing offs, karaoke, etc, in our home, people ask me how I am able to keep the guests so engaged and things moving along. It’s actually not that hard.
First of all, you need places to sit, ask everyone to bring a chair of some sort if you don’t have enough.
You don’t need a bunch of Pinterest worthy table decorations. To be honest if everyone is having a good time they won’t notice what they’re eating off of.
Second, if you’re just having people over for the evening, have everyone bring their favorite dish, which takes away the burden of paying for everything yourself.
Next, have music on at all times, you can do that simply with your smart phone or TV. Pandora has all types of music. Music is vital to hospitality, which brings me to the next tip.
If the people you’re inviting over play an instrument or sing, have them bring some music to share. That’s always fun and keeps things moving, without anyone getting bored. This is something that I experienced as a child that has become a norm in my own household.
The most important tip I could give you in hosting people in your home is learn to be a listener.
While everyone is having a good time, walk around asking people if they need anything. Ask how they’re doing.
This is vital. To show people you care and enjoy them being there, you want to ask them questions about themselves. Ask them where they work, do they like their job, do they have any hobbies, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much people like to talk about themselves :). I personally love hearing people’s history.
Last, but not least, the grim reality is some people don’t want to invite people into their home because of fear for their kid’s personal safety. This is a VALID concern. As a preacher’s kid I’ve seen and heard of situations that have brought pain to families. Let me give you some advice on that.
First of all, it’s your job to protect your kids, and your belongings.
As far as important belongings go, lock them up. No one will ever know you did it.
When it comes to your family, you can either have a spot for the kids to play together and pop in often to see how they’re doing, or you can have the kids help with hosting, passing out food and drinks, then directing them to a craft spot where you can keep an eye on them.
I personally would not recommend allowing a child to be alone in a room with another adult. Being smart while being hospitable will save you a lot of trouble.
Overall, hospitality has been beneficial in my life and my family’s lives. Because of the generosity of my parents I have hundreds of very special relationships.
Hospitality is a lost art and blessing that needs to introduced back into our lives.
The Bible says in Hebrews 13 and several other places to “Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!”
The Bible also says how we treat others is how we treat Christ. I challenge you (and myself) to start being hospitable and show the love of God to others as an example of how Jesus loved.
Please read my sibling’s comments, so I don’t get beat up.