Why are Germans so German? Why are Irish so Irish? Many studies show that the culture and environment you live in has an effect on you. Some of that is to be expected. When you moved from Philadelphia to Phoenix, it only stood to reason that your sons “switched birds” and became fans of the Cardinals while you remained an Eagles fan.
When I grew up, we had a drawing of our family tree on the wall by our dinner table. Every time we enjoyed a meal together, that drawing served as a reminder of who was who in our family and how we were all related. It provided all of us with a strong sense of identity. We knew “where we came from.”
Your home environment has an influence on everyone in it including those who live there and those who visit. What you hang on the walls of your home, display on your coffee table, or post on your refrigerator is important.
Billy Graham may not be your grandfather nor Mother Teresa your aunt, but if they were models that shaped your life or led to your conversion, you may consider hanging pictures of them on a wall in your hallway. Your grandchildren, with their natural curiosity, will take notice. When they see an unfamiliar face, they will ask, “Who is that?” Your answer can be the springboard to a great conversation. If your grandchildren catch you talking to those pictures someday, they will certainly want to know why and this will open the door to sharing your journey of faith. Additionally, changing who is on your “wall of fame” periodically will multiply your conversation opportunities.
You don’t have to design your house to speak volumes in order for it to speak volumes! But you might consider how to intentionally make your home an environment that helps you pass on your faith.
Your walls can speak if you let them.
For Discussion: Was there anything in your grandparents’ home environment that you especially remember from your childhood?
For Action:Look at what you have on your walls. Is there something you can do that will make the walls speak?
Mike Shaughnessy is the founder of Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club and lives in Lansing, Michigan.
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