Charity Begins at Home

I grew up in a conservative household. The fact that I am the only girl in a brood of 5 and the youngest may have contributed to the fact that my parents, my mom specifically, put me on a short leash. It was home, school, home. Day in day out. If I wanted to go somewhere else, it’s a major production. I must have a chaperon. Thankfully I grew up with nieces and nephews who are closer to age so there’s always someone to tag along with.

Also very unique in my household is that my dad specially wanted the gate locked by 6 pm. Even his relatives who would drop by after sundown would not be able to come in. Dad’s house rules. By the time I appeared in their lives, they had raised their 4 boys, was expecting their first grandson who arrived 2 months after I did, and had exhausted their energy raising the kids and worked like mules to keep everyone fed and clothed. So I understood their reluctance to change the way they raise their daughter.

Because of dad’s strict rules of no visitors allowed after sundown, we rarely had anyone staying over. I remember only two different aunts – mom’s sister and mom’s cousin – who stayed with us for a week or so. Not that my parents were uncharitable, they are lax in giving handouts and help, they just don’t like people staying over. My dad also was sick for a long time, so it’s really understandable that he is not keen on entertaining.

Now when I got married and visited my in-laws I saw the way my husband was raised the exact opposite. In their household, they always have people around visiting for a day or staying over. Their house is open to people who need a roof for a night or more. It was so different. At first I was so uncomfortable with all the people coming and going. Then I understood that my husband’s generous spirit and his easy-going nature was cultivated by his parents.

So when we got together he wanted to adopt the house rules from his childhood. Now we always have people in the house, not relatives, who comes for watch party. Last night, a week night, a school night, our friend and his step son came over to watch the Warriors game. The minute the son entered the house, he said he was too hungry and ready to eat. I felt so wonderful knowing that someone not related to me by blood feels so comfortable to say things like that. Little by little my aversion to people coming over my house that is not blood related is dissipating. My husband’s good attitude about charity and hospitality is rubbing off on me. Hallelujah!

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