My husband and I decided right from when our children were very small, that we would be ‘that house’. You know the one. The one you wanted to play at as a little kid, because there were fun things to do.
The one you wanted to hang out at when you were a tween because you were welcomed.
The one you enjoyed going to as a teenager because there was laughter.
And in all those instances there was acceptance, conversation and usually food.
The great thing about being ‘that house’ is you get to know the kids your children are spending time with. Sometimes these young people become an extension of your family, while other young people give you the opportunity to have a conversation with your child about what real friendship is or isn’t. But either way, you have an opportunity to impact not just your own children, but other kids that are crying out for role models. It’s not all fun and games though, there will be mess, there will be noise. Everything inside of you might even be thinking ‘Is it home time yet??!!’
Young people need somewhere to hang out. If it’s not your place, they will find somewhere else, and I don’t know about you, but I would rather be a guiding voice in my children’s lives than leave it to someone else. That doesn’t mean that I don’t let my children out. But we find those friends or role models who reflect our values and encourage friendships. We have allowed friendships that weren’t our first choice, in controlled environments. For example, limited time and no sleepovers at certain houses, but I never limited the time spent at ours.
Over time I have become Mama Tye to more than one child who is not mine and hear about their hopes and dreams. Despite the noise, mess and chaos, one of the greatest compliments I could receive is to have children and young people wanting to hang out at our home. Then I know that we have become That House.
– Yvonne Tye
Yvonne is Generations Connection Coordinator for Crossway Baptist Church. Yvonne and her husband Justin have four children ranging from primary to young adults.