The Effect of a Good Home

Good homes don’t always produce smart kids. Try as we may, our children sometimes make big errors when they get out on their own. The world and all its temptations beckon, questionable friends fill voids, and life’s hard edges easily discourage.

Jesus spoke of a young man like that in Luke 15:11-32. We don’t know his name, but we know his type. He had his hand out and felt his dad owed him something, then stormed off when he got it. His story is like that of many young people today: easy money is used up far too quickly and there’s nothing left when times become hard. For the young man of the parable, he ended up doing the dirtiest job possible for survival: feeding pigs out in a muddy field. And that wasn’t even enough; he was so hungry, the pig food looked appetizing.

But one day he remembered home. Things really weren’t that bad there. Everybody had enough to eat and nobody was cold at night. He decided he’d been foolish and wasteful, and it was time to go back. He didn’t know it, but his father was hoping he would see his son come over the horizon soon. There was a tender reunion, although a few snags had to be ironed out.

A good home facilitated this. If his dad was a hard, unforgiving man his son would have preferred starving before he’d go home. But he was a kind and just person. His son had come home ashamed and weary; his dad welcomed him. The son knew his father. Theirs was a home that allowed second chances. It was also a home that used good communication to sort out problems. When the older son protested the homecoming party, they sat down and talked it over. Good homes do that.

Kids think of home when times are difficult. Make it a place worth remembering.

– Tim Johnson