To add to the fun of Luke’s birthday, my sister, four of her children, and my mom who was visiting them came from Tennessee to spend the day. Towards the end of their visit, my oldest son, John, looked a little distressed; his cousin, who’s the same age, had wandered off by himself, and John couldn’t find him. John was aware that their time together was growing short, and he wanted to make the most of the last thirty minutes or so.
After a couple of minutes calling for him, the cousin emerged from our chicken pen holding one of the chickens. He was close enough that he must have heard John calling for him. My sister scolded him. “John’s looking for you,” she said. “Ask him what he wants to do. Remember, you’re the guest.”
Her comments reminded me of something she had mentioned to me a few years before. As we were growing up, we’d have friends over, and we’d spend the time doing the things they wanted to do. We were taught to be good hostesses, ensuring that our friends had a good time at our house. Now grown, my sister had a new view of the situation. A child, she said, should also be taught to be a gracious guest.
A gracious guest is one that doesn’t demand his own way. He understands that activities with his host don’t have to revolve around him; instead, he finds out what his host wants to do. He helps out when he can and fits himself into the host’s schedule.
I thought about it again that day, and I believe my sister is right. I, too, want my children to learn to be a blessing, whether they are serving in the position of the host or as an invited guest – a gracious guest.