Parenting as hospitality

Henri Nouwen in writing about hospitality and spirituality writes this about children:

It may sound strange to speak of the relationship between parents and children in terms of hospitality. But it belongs to the centre of the Christian message that children are not properties to own and rule over, but gifts to cherish and care for. Our children are our most important guests, who enter into our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way. Children are strangers whom we have to get to know. They have their own style, their own rhythm and their own capacities for good and evil.

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5 thoughts on “Parenting as hospitality

  1. John, I have been out of touch for some time, but I caught your posting of that remarkable quote from Henri Nouwen regarding parenting and children. Thanks so much for lifting out this gem that every parent should embrace. I must confess that It was a struggle early on for my wife and I to understand and appreciate the blessing of having an autistic son in our home to love and parent in a nurturing and positive environment. Hopefully, our son has seen some dramatic changes in his “hosts” over the years as they inwardly and privately dealt with the differences between him and his two older “normal” siblings, But in the spirit of John Wesley, we have not yet arrived. But we do notice a progressive harmonizing of relationships between our “guest” and his “hosts”. Thanks again, John, for calling attention to and reinforcing a great fundamental Christian truth on parenting children.

    1. I have not been writing on this blog a lot, Hal. You have not missed much. I love the Nouwen quote, too. It is both challenging and affirming.

  2. I find the use of “our” and “we” offensive here. Define your own parenting in public forums, please.

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