If we know you are coming over to our house, there are things we do before you arrive. As the mama of three sons, one of whom is currently in Ranger School, I have learned that in military terms, presumably we could call it a “movement.”
We straighten up – usually a vacuum is pushed throughout the area you will visit. There is often dusting beforehand and the bathroom is cleaned. The bathroom deserves its own post though, more on that later.
They put on a nice shirt– although my boys moaned and groaned about this, we found that the mere act of putting on a collared shirt indicated they were part of the team. In our family we call it W-H style since those are the initials to our last name. Changing out of regular clothes means something special is going to happen. The collared shirt (usually a polo shirt, rarely long-sleeved) signifies that our family, every single one of us, not just Dad and Mom, is having company. Even if only one person is invited, the level of alert is heightened.
We rehearse – Just as we had practice training sessions about manners, throughout the years, our family still goes over a list of duties before people show up.
“Ike, you’re in charge of water and drinks. Make sure no one’s glass remains empty.”
“Aaron, don’t talk too much, let others also speak and try to sit still.”
“Nate, when we’re done with dinner, gather up the plates.”
All the guys had a purpose.
So maybe you’re wondering –
Did it always work perfectly? Of course not! We never expected things to be flawless but there was a standard.
Did your kids feel like robots devoid of any personality? You haven’t been to our house if you’re asking that question! No, they actually had more freedom because of the rules. We made it fun and not overly formal.
Collared shirts every single time? Not every single time but often. Freshly showered, collared young men are so adorable. Sometimes they would dab a bit of cologne on before bounding down the stairs. The hint of manly fragrance on their middle school necks always made my heart grin and grow wistful. I wish those days back again quite honestly. When the doorbell rang, we were ready for our guests’ arrival. We appreciated them coming into our home.
And I must share this.
Our guests appreciate these touches although most might not even realize what happened behind the scenes. They are just blessed and isn’t that the whole point to entertaining, blessing someone? The minimal preparation we employed allows our guests to be at ease. In some way it announces this family is ready and we have things (slightly) under control.
Last summer, my oldest OS rented a house near Fort Benning and he and his buddies hosted a gathering. Nate called me for advice on menu selection and such. He even wanted to make sure he served a salad (this melted my heart). My boy wanted people to feel welcome in his home. I’m sure my Soldier was a gracious host and maybe he even wore a collared shirt!
And we recently had a 51st birthday party for the Hubs. It was a Lemonhead theme because it’s his favorite candy. The orange hair, freckle face OS was an integral part of the planning and a huge help before, during and after the event.
But true to form before the guests arrived, Ike asked the standard question. “Do I have to wear a collared shirt?” As this picture indicates, Ike got his answer.
Out of all my boys, Ike is very gifted with hos- pitality. His servant’s heart has parlayed into him having a little part-time job at a nearby event venue. He’s the guy walking around with hors d’oeuvres and refilling non-alcoholic drinks. So I guess being a good host, getting kids ready for company has paid off both here and away from home. The more we do it, the better we become as both guests and faithful stewards of our home.
So what are the little things you do before you have dinner guests? Do you even dare try? It is scary! How have you prepared your kids to co-host special times at your house?
I have often wished I could meet Aaron and Nate, but I agree Ike is wonderful with hospitality! He impressed me so much when I joined you all at the end of dinner one night.
I am so grateful to know you.
The feeling is mutual. You would really like the other two olive shoots and I hope one day to meet Henry in person as well. You are so dear to me.
We have guests coming this evening (the first guests in our new house) and my wonderful husband and I have been tidying and cleaning. I’m not actually cooking as they offered to bring Chinese takeaway. My friend is bringing her new fiance, so it’s all very exciting 🙂
Interesting too when you think that hospitality is a definite theme through the gospels.
Awesome correlation! I need to soak on that one, you have inspired me!
Sounds like a fun night! I can sense your excitement! I always love it when people bring something and if it’s dinner, I could handle that too!
Such a sweet set of posts! If we have evening dinner guests, our daughter will often help me prepare food (and may stay up and eat entrees with us, if we have them) as I think it’s teaching her about hospitality, making conversation, table manners (of course, we expect that all the time but the bar is raised when we have guests!) etc. Our boys are usually in bed but are allowed to come downstairs and say Good Evening to our guests as they arrive and welcome them. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t because they then might spend the next however-long traipsing up and own the stairs with different excuses:-) all good fun!
I can just imagine little boys trying to invent reasons to engage with the company! You are giving your daughter a beautiful gift by teaching her the fine art of hospitality at an early age. Hearing sweet little British accents greeting guests sounds so precious!