Last week, we had a family reunion. My parents, their three children (and spouses) and a whopping fifteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild all descended on my parent’s property in Franklin, TN. Yes, impressive number of children for only three kids. My oldest brother is an over-achiever (8 of them are his, plus the great-grandchild). This was the first time in four years that the whole family has been together. For all my family, this first little shout-out is for you, capturing just a few of the sweet moments we had!
Big family gatherings can be super, super stressful and full of drama. Thankfully, this was none of that. It was purely magical. We had so much fun, focusing on the love and legacy that my parents have passed on to us and to so many others in their lives, and really just enjoying each other. The kids were instant best friends – ages ranged from almost 1 to 22, and it was incredible to see how genuinely open and loving they all were with each other – even the tweens and teens. Yes, you can have teens who are enjoyable to be around!
We all have our stories, our baggage, and our tension points. Yet we have the opportunity with every interaction to direct our focus. To be the good, and intentionally see the good. We chose to love, chose to play, and genuinely worked together for a fabulous time. We are all different ages, all different viewpoints, even coming in from different cultures and races. Yet we intentionally looked at how we are all connected, not by blood but by our choice to create this as “family.” It was a beautiful time of creating magical memories with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It was so great, in fact, that we are going to be more intentional about making this happen every other year. The memories these cousins have created are those sweet “core memories” like what are discussed in the movie “Inside Out.”
My mother asked all of us children to write a piece for the back. This book is not only about creating a haven of peace in your home, but it it lays out my childhood and the home I came from. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but to me, it was home because of the love and support I felt. Below is my excerpt:
IN YOUR RECOLLECTION, WHAT IMPACTED YOU MOST IN CREATING A HAVEN OF PEACE IN OUR HOME? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT? HOW ARE YOU CREATING YOUR OWN HAVEN OF PEACE WITH YOUR FAMILY?
The things that resonate with me most from my childhood are two words – growth and respect. In our household, it was a given that respect was to be shared by everyone and everything. You respect our things, you respect all feelings, and you respect all people no matter their age. In our generation there was a lot of authoritarian parenting going on, and I remember voicing my frustrations to my parents about my friends who were so “rebellious and unruly”. I would go into their homes and it wasn’t be backtalk from the kids that so shocked me; it was the overall disregard from the parents on the idea of mutual respect. The parents would demand respect from their children yet show no respect for them – they didn’t stop to listen, didn’t acknowledge the feelings going on with their child, and didn’t show any trust in them as being competent human beings.
When their expectation was that of an incompetent child,
that is exactly what their child became.
My parents validated me, honored my individuality, and respected me as a significant voice in our family. They treated my emotional needs at five, fifteen, twenty-five and beyond with the same level of importance. Even if it was a dramatic “Monica said she wasn’t my friend anymore!” or a lost puppy love, my parents listened to me and gave merit to my emotions. Regardless of the level of importance deemed in their adult worlds, in my world, what was happening to me was significant, and they allowed me to feel it and walked with me through it.
On top of that, they taught me to always keep growing. They instilled in me a love for learning and a fascination with discovering something new. With my gamete of schooling (homeschool, public, private, group classes), I never believe that learning was confined to a classroom. I saw my parents grow with me, learn with me, and always be open to changing their ways.
I value these things so much, and have so incorporated it into my own family. From the time my girls could walk and talk, they have known our top two family mottos:
Respect All Things
The World Is Our School
We can show respect even if a viewpoint is different from our own, we can show love despite hate in the world, we can show consideration and honor to our environment and everything in it.
I unschool our children and, as they get older, we intend on world traveling and allowing them to not only learn the stories, but to actually see and experience the sights, sounds, and overall culture of being in the places we learn about. We never stop learning, and our children have no animosity with that word. “School” is simply living fully with an open mind, and educating ourselves about this beautiful world we live in, learning more about it every day.
I am thankful for the family I came from and the family I am now creating. I am thankful to raise children who are confident in the powerful little women they are – at ages 3, 6 and 9 – and know that as they grow physically, they will always be growing mentally with their openness and love for life.
Creating a haven of peace has started in my childhood and has spread to every person we come across.
How are you creating a “Haven of Peace” in your home?
Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
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