In his book What Makes Us Tick?, sociologist Hugh Mackay claims that one of the things that we all desire is ‘to have a place to call home’. On Four Corners on Monday night, the Syrian city of Kobani was featured. The people of Kobani once lived peaceful and generally contented lives. The adults worked and the children went to school. Then ISIS came and completely decimated the city. Inhabitants either fled or were killed, and buildings were bombed. It was literally a heap of rubble except for the statue of the eagle in the centre of town.
In recent months, those fighting against ISIS have regained Kobani and now former inhabitants are coming back to their city to rebuild it and their lives. As I looked at the footage, I wondered why anyone would want to live there. Yet, in wondering that, I discounted the desire (need) for us to have a place to call home – a place that contained the memories and which evoked a loyalty which makes no sense to people like myself.
Home is where the heart is – even though it might be a place of despair, it obviously still has a great pull. My favourite parable is that of the Lost Son (Luke, Chapter 15). As a young man with his life before him, he left the security of his home, much to the sorrow of his father. In time, he came to realise his foolish decision and made his long trip home where he received an incredibly gracious and overwhelming welcome. He was once again reunited with his father and he felt secure. Indeed there is no place like home.
No home (family) is perfect – but we adults should do all we can to make it as good, as welcoming, and as emotionally secure as we possibly can. A loving and caring family is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. May God give us all the grace and wisdom to ensure that home is where our sons and daughters will always feel welcome and accepted, and to where they often want to return and sit around the table or sit on their favourite seat.
Senior School Chaplain