It seems like, these days, I rarely have the radio on in my car. I mostly tune in to some sort of streaming music through my phone, just to avoid commercials. But the other day, for some reason, I had the radio on as I drove to one of our local beaches. The commercials didn’t seem to bother me as I took in the smell of salt air and stared at all the palm trees dancing in the breeze. At some point, though, I started to hear the radio interfere with my thoughts.
What I heard was the cheesiest, most poorly produced radio spot. I don’t remember for what specific brand the commercial was advertising, but I did turn the volume up to have a closer listen. Because coming from my speakers was this really harsh, fake, southern accent by a man telling the audience that his ice cream tasted “like” homemade. And isn’t homemade really the best anyway? Grandma’s ice cream was always the best.
That’s where he had me. I didn’t have a grandmother present in my day-to-day life as a little girl. One grandmother lived several states away, and the other went to be with Jesus when I was in first grade. So homemade ice cream isn’t on my childhood radar. But that’s not the point.
The point is – isn’t homemade better?
And I’m not just talking about food. But food definitely is a part of it. A dear friend of mine said today, “Parents, live your life so that the legacy you leave behind is not a hole out of which your children have to dig, but a PLATFORM from which they can launch.” Isn’t that powerful? And she wasn’t just talking about food. I know her heart, and her home is homemade.
As parents, we have this awesome privilege to take time with our children. To slow down. To not stand beside our cars, hold our phones texting while our little one tugs at our leg and we ignore their request. We get to say no to extracurricular activities that mean that family is going in 5 different ways and will only see each other, as a whole, one night a week. We get to make way for nights, at home, where children learn to appreciate that fun is being with people who love them most. We don’t have to overwhelm them with surprises, or treats, or gifts, or special outings or fancy vacations. Those things are good. But so often I see families pulled in ten different directions because each child is involved in several sports or activities. Or, I see parents who get jealous of their children’s activities and they compete for their own. Entitled. They end up leaving their families, on weekends, to satisfy their own hobbies and desires.
What’s wrong with a hobby, or sport or some other activity? Nothing, really. Not until it starts wearing away at a family and you realize that in 7 days of the week, you have maybe spent 1hour/day with your family as a whole. And even then, your thoughts are on your smart phone, or your career, or the bills you need to pay, or the dog you haven’t spent much time with, or the groceries you need to buy, or the laundry that is piled so unbelievably high (and it’s clean). The guilt umbrellas the joy and you find yourself so up tight trying to manage that whole thing called your life. All the while you justify it because, likely, all the families in your circle live the same way. And that just seems normal.
That’s not normal. And if that’s the American dream, unsign me from that mess. I want homemade. Homemade ice cream takes time. It takes mixing ingredients, the right ones, and then sitting back and enjoying an hour while you wait patiently.
I’m not telling you that being anti-social is right. But I am telling you that it’s important to slow the game down and re-evaluate what kind of legacy you’re creating for your children. I, for one, want to see my children when they’re adults. And if I show them, now, that life is created to be busy and busy and busy and that I rarely have time for my own family, then they’ll recreate that as adults. I don’t want that. And I also don’t want my children influenced 90% of the time by people who I sorta-kinda know, and sorta-kinda trust, because they’re a classmate’s parent or a teammate’s sibling. Nuttuh. No way.
I want these girls to know that home is where they come for love, and assurance, and homemade popcorn on movie nights, and afternoon hammock swings with popsicles, and long days at the beach with nothing better to do than play and pack a picnic. I want them to taste and see that the Lord gave them this life to experience – not rush through.
The Lord gave them this life to savor. And if I create a home that’s running with all engines blazing, all the time, I’m going to miss the mark completely. And by mark, I mean their hearts.
Our children should remember dinner time just like I remember dinner time with my Grandfather: tv and phones off, a little music in the background, his blue eyes staring back at me over a table prepared with intent, and conversation that leaves us feeling like we mattered.
Might you love with a slower intent?
Might you really consider slowing down? Look at your calendar. Does it completely overwhelm you? Do you miss your children or your spouse? Realign that mess.
And for heaven’s sake, get an ice cream maker and make some homemade ice cream.
This life is such a gift. Meant to be tasted and savored and seen with eyes that aren’t distracted and muddied by some false since of what living looks like. I love making a homemade life. It takes some doing. Sometimes it takes some deep breathing and a whole load of patience. But I’m staring down at that bucket as it churns into something beautiful…
…and my ice cream isn’t done yet.
This is a patient, intentional thing happening. This is homemade life.