If you’ve ever entered a home as a guest and left feeling like you’re family, you’ve experienced hospitality. People who practice hospitality make space for guests, visitors, and strangers, extending to them the privileges of family. God calls all of us to practice hospitality! Here are five ways to cultivate a spirit of hospitality in your kids.
1 LEAD BY EXAMPLE
In daily life, show your kids what it means to be a fully present and gracious host. Invite people into your home, making a point to often include people who aren’t close friends or relatives. Let your kids know that your home is always open to their guests too.
2 TALK ABOUT EXPERIENCES
As a family, talk about how each of you has experienced hospitality. Share stories about times when you felt welcomed and about people who have made you feel like family. What helps you feel welcomed? Whom might you make space for in similar ways? Have you ever felt or experienced the opposite of welcome? What was that like?
3 PRACTICE WELCOME
Brainstorm with your kids about ways to lovingly welcome all sorts of people: guests in your home, visitors at church, new players on a team, neighbors on your street, refugees in your community, and so on. Then make plans to do some of those things.
4 PROVIDE OPTIONS
Like adults, some kids can be energized by interacting with people, while others can find it exhausting. Smiling, offering your seat on the bus, and holding a door open for someone are all examples of simple but important everyday acts of hospitality. Encouraging your kids to expand their comfort zones is important; so is working within the context of their God-designed personality.
5 BE SUPPORTIVE
There will be times when your child’s act of hospitality means setting another plate at the dinner table, or going an extra mile to drive a friend home. Model a willingness to set aside your schedule to extend hospitality, and embrace the messiness that comes with a “hospitality first” attitude in your home.