We often underestimate what an important role our whole plays in hosting children in our home. I was reminded of this when our family recently began hosting a 10-year-old girl. Her transition from her family into our home, though necessary, was quite upsetting for her. She cried and screamed for two hours but someone in our home silently spoke her language. Our 17-year old adopted son, who has walked through his own valley of trauma and pain, stepped forward with great compassion. He quietly took her hand and walked with her to the kitchen and prepared a snack for her. This subtle act of kindness in the face of anger and frustration communicated that our home was safe and nurturing in a genuine way that our guest received with gratitude.
I am continually reminded of the power of family and the significant role children have in our ministry. Do you see your children as key change agents? Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, grade and high schoolers, college students – young people of any age bring their gifts of love and acceptance to a hosting situation. Parents can empower their children to see themselves as partners, serving together as a family. My wife and I have chosen to encourage our children to live this way. It has always been our goal to teach them to use their unique gifts and resources to serve the Lord by participating with us in biblical hospitality.
Why are host children important to Safe Families?
- Children of host parents are often great at helping the SF child feel comfortable in the new environment.
- The parent you are helping is more likely to grow in trust when they see your children welcoming and befriending their child.
- Strong bonds can be built as children have lasting relationships that exist beyond hosting.
- Your family can serve as an encouraging, healthy model of what family can look like.
- You and your children get to serve together to strengthen other families and change lives! Your children learn to see themselves as change agents, a value that can last a life time.
Our SF child settled in. However, both she and our son were nervous about starting a new school year. But as we gathered across the dinner table that evening, they were both surprisingly eager to share their first day back to school. This simple, shared experience brought both of them together. It immediately created a bonding time, and after dinner our guest challenged our son to a stretching contest to see who was more flexible. That turned into various other friendly competitions, like cartwheels. Fun family times that create bonds. Entrusting them with the task of after-dinner clean-up was pretty satisfying for us, too! Hosting is a family endeavor and really takes everyone caring and demonstrating compassion when welcoming a stranger into your home.
Dr. Dave Anderson
Founder, Safe Families for Children