What Are Your House Rules?


“Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].”  1 Peter 4:8 (Amp)
A Message at MOPS
We had a wonderful guest speaker at our MOPS group in October.  She is a retired teacher, who taught sixth grade for a while, among other grades. Her talk was based upon the principle that she only had one rule in her sixth grade classroom.  Of course, when the students learned that she only had one rule, they were surprised…and thought they were getting off the hook easy!
Her one rule was, “Love one another.”  That was it!
But then she explained how she went through the other usual school rules with the kids and proved how her rule covered each of them.  Such as not chewing gum in school would show love to the janitor for not having to clean up sticky garbage cans.  Or keeping your hands to yourself would show love to their classmates by not hurting or annoying them.
She gave me a fresh perspective on the golden rule.  Although she never had any children of her own to mother, she hoped that we as moms would maybe be inspired to run our households in the same manner with loving one another as the overarching rule.
At the end, she gave each of us a river rock with a message on it.  Mine says, “Respond with love.”  And the back has “1 Peter 4:8”  I love it – I have it sitting in my kitchen to remind me to respond with love to my husband, my kids, and to anyone I encounter in life.
{“Ironically” speaking, but knowing it’s not ironic at all, it’s God sending me messages, this week in my Hellomornings Bible study, we were focusing on the passage in 1 Peter 4:1-11.}
A Message at Wal-Mart
A few days later, my 3-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, and I were in the “family” bathroom at Wal-Mart, and I noticed a long skinny black canvas with white letters mounted somewhat high above the toilet.  It said, “House Rules: Hug often, Be nice and play fair, Help each other, Use your manners, Do your best, Forgive quickly, Be generous, Use kind words, Try new things, Laugh every day, Respect others, Be yourself, Never give up”.
My mind went through the list and thought about what the speaker at MOPS had said and how each of those rules on the canvas was covered by the one rule to love one another.
A few years ago, I had read an article in a parenting magazine about the idea of writing out your house rules and somehow creatively posting them up so the kids would see and remember them.  I thought it was a great idea, but was intimidated because I didn’t know where to start and worried I might forget something important that I should include.
For that reason, I loved this ready-made list, which Wal-Mart has for sale in the home décor section that I found later.  But being an artsy-craftsy person myself, didn’t want to spend the money they were asking.  I knew I had some blank canvas in my closet, bought some blackboard paint and chalk, and set out to make my own list…except that mine is going to state “love one another” in larger print under “house rules”.
A Message on the Playground
A few days later, Kaitlyn and I were on the playground while my older two girls were at soccer practice.  (All on the same school grounds.)  There is a younger brother of a boy on the girls’ team, who is friendly and talks to me at almost every practice.  He’s 5-years-old and in Kindergarten.  He’s a sweet boy with big blue eyes who loves Thomas the Train and peppers me with “Guess what?!?!” questions.
This day, on the playground, he talked to me as usual for a while.  Then came back to me and said, “I worship God when I love others.  Love others.  Love others.”, and walked away.  I almost missed what he said in his little boy way of talking.  I had to replay it in my head to get it.  When I did, I was floored.
From the mouths of babes…it was as if God had used this little boy to deliver this message to me.  It was profound and so timely.
A Message in a Magazine
Just to share one other thing that relates…I was reading an issue of MomSense magazine (from MOPS International) and there is an article about marriage.  There is a list:
“45 years of marriage have taught me:
Turn toward, not away from him.
Be for him. Be on the same team.
Talk. Don’t stuff stuff.
Don’t expect him to meet all my needs.
He can’t read my mind. Communicate.
Pray for him.  Pray with him.
Marriage is not to make us happy; it’s to make us holy.
Love is not a feeling, it’s an action, chosen because of our commitment.
I need to accept him; not expect to change him; the only person I can change is me.
Always celebrate our anniversary!”
This is an awesome list – lessons that have also been learned in our, (as of Nov. 7th), 15 years of marriage.  I’ll probably make a canvas with these things on it as well.  Again, the house rule of “love one another” covers all these things and will be listed at the top in larger print.
 Love Covers A Multitude
I really love the weighty simplicity of this one rule – how it truly means so much.  Not only should we use this rule in our household, but outside of our four walls as well.  We need to extend love to our friends, neighbors, relatives, and strangers.  We need to live with our “love glasses on” as Beckah Shae sings.
The following verse in first Peter stood out to me as well this week:
1 Peter 4:9, “Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith).  [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.]  And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
As ambassadors of Christ, we are to live LIFE: Love In Full Effect.  How?  By remembering that we know life only because of His love…and we know love only because of His life.  (Again, thanks to Beckah Shae for great lyrics from her song “LIFE” and “Here In This Moment”.)
Will your house rule be “love one another”?
Much love,
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