Hey there, my friend. The question I have for you today might appear random, but I promise it will have meaning in a minute.
Have you ever the song, by country music artist, Doug Stone, called “Little Houses”?
The chorus goes like this;
you know love grows best in little houses
With fewer walls to separate
Where you eat and sleep so close together
You can't help but communicate
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss
Love grows best in houses just like this
The song was released in 1994. I’m not exactly when I first heard it, but I do remember the core message sticking with me – Love grows best in little houses, with few walls to separate.
It's more than just a catchy tune; it's a powerful metaphor for the amount of time and attention we give to what truly matters.
As a seasoned adult, husband, and father, I've come to realize that the size of your house doesn't matter as much as the size of your attention. It's about being fully present with where you are and who you're with, without the distractions of devices, multitasking, and mindless swiping. It's about cherishing the small, yet significant moments in life – the simple joys that many overlook in the pursuit of what appears to be something bigger.
Realizing you don’t have to go elsewhere, spend money or do something big, to have fun and spend quality time with those you care about.
I recently had a heart-to-heart with the front desk manager at a hotel I frequent during my business travels. He shared a childhood memory of his family gathering in the main room every night, where the one TV in the house was located. And how there was the living room (aka, the nice room) that no one was ever in, unless others in the neighborhood came by and they would gather there to visit with his parents.
Does that spark a similar memory for you too? It does me.
As a father and husband, I've adopted a tradition with my own family. Every night at 8:00 pm, we shut down all other activities. Work and homework are done for the day, and we gather in the living room. It's our sacred time, whether we're watching a family show, playing a game, or simply catching up on the day's happenings. These 60 to 90 minutes are genuinely the highlight of my day.
Now, here's a thought-provoking study to share with you. Parents were asked whom they'd have dinner with if they could choose anyone. Abraham Lincoln, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr. – you name it, they wished to gain wisdom and instruction from these remarkable figures for learning invaluable lessons and the secrets to our life’s deepest questions. But when their children were asked the same question, the answers were greatly different and heartwarmingly simple – "My family. My Mom or my Dad."
Ouch! Cue the chest compressions ❤️ and grab a tissue 😥, because that's the raw, unfiltered beauty of the here and now. In a world dominated by devices, notifications, and the constant pursuit of external validation, we often miss the most valuable and priceless moments right in front of us. Our children, with their innocent and profound answers, remind us of the true essence of life – the joy, connection, and warmth of real love and friendship.
Remember the days without all the gadgets, when the closeness to family and community meant real people within your physical presence. Those were the days of genuine joy and connection, where you felt the comfort and warmth of true love and friendship from people who will always be there, no matter what.
As the world bombards us with distractions, let's pause and reflect on the importance of being present. Let's resist the urge to be ruled (or ruined) by devices and external demands. Instead, let's embrace the closeness to family and community, savoring the richness of true connections.
In the words of Ephesians 4:23-24, "to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
Let's choose the little houses of presence over the big walls of distraction. Let's celebrate the simplicity of being fully engaged with those around us, for love indeed grows best in houses just like this.
Wishing you meaningful connections and fully present moments,
P.S. Remember: the most extraordinary moments often unfold in the simplicity of being present. Don't miss the chance to savor the beauty within the ordinary.