Two of my all-time favorite homes are my grandmother’s (of blessed memory) home in Ohio and the childhood home of my dear friend Julie in Michigan. Both of these houses were modest ranches, and my grandmother’s home, compared to many of today’s standards, was quite small. I vaguely recall how these houses were decorated; however, I clearly remember how I felt when I was in them—safe, loved, happy. What made these homes extra special was the people who lived in them and the havens that they created.
At Julie’s house, whoever answered the front door always had a warm smile, and I was welcomed sweetly every single time. At my grandma’s house, where my cousin Erika and I would stay for a couple weeks every summer, just before bedtime, she would ask us if we wanted ice cream. Of course the answer was always “Yes!” In the scheme of my whole life, these are the tiniest of moments. The fact that I can remember them is telling of the impact they had on me and how I felt in these homes.
Shalom bayit (home peace) is the Jewish concept of creating a home that is a sanctuary—a place that feels welcoming, calm, and safe. A place that is rejuvenating for the people who live there as well as anyone who visits. A place where meaningful moments are shared.
Think about the many homes you have been in throughout your life. Which ones are your favorite? Which ones did you not like so much? What was it that made them special (or not) to you? Thinking about these homes gives you better insight on how to create Shalom Bayit in your own home. You’re probably doing this instinctively already; nevertheless, it’s good to take a deeper look sometimes and figure out if you and your family need to make some improvements.
Every day we have endless opportunities to create peace, magic, and meaningful moments in our homes. We just have to be intentional about making it happen.
Something to try:
There are many ways to cultivate Shalom Bayit, but these two, if practiced consistently, make a big impact: (1) Keeping your home tidy and clean as much as possible. This is a tough one, for sure–especially for those of us raising children and regularly walking through a minefield of Legos, art projects, and haphazardly strewn clothing. But when everything is put away, it sure does feel good. (2) Making every effort to be pleasant. This can be even more difficult than keeping the house clean, but it really is the best way to fill your home with peace. With practice, and of course with your family on board, too, your all-time favorite home can be your own.