We manage a guesthouse with a small yard and playground for children. We also live on the same center. So in a sense it is like our backyard. Yet, it can also be compared to a public park: free for any guests and our missionaries who live near enough to come and enjoy it whenever they want to. These differing views have caused a few issues with our children in the past several years.
Let me give you some examples: Have you ever been to a park where another visitor told you what you should or shouldn’t do there? Have you ever been to a friend’s house and they have said, “I would really rather you not do that.” I am assuming your response would be a bit different to your friend than to a stranger at the park. It is the same with our kids when they try to tell the other children who come, what rules we have set in place. Often those other children don’t respect what our kids have to say because they are treating it like a public park, but my kids get frustrated because they see it as their backyard with some rules that should be followed.
Imagine your neighbors decided to use your backyard to host some friends but didn’t invite you- that would feel a bit awkward. But if you happened to meet those same neighbors hosting their friends at the park- you wouldn’t feel left out at all, because their hosting other friends has nothing to do with you. You would probably greet them and continue with your walk. This happens to us pretty often here at the guesthouse because people come here to relax and its perfectly fine for them to invite their friends, but at times we feel a bit left out; it is all how we look at our playground area. We are trying to teach our children that it should be treated both ways at different times. We need to treat it as our backyard to appropriately care for it and keep it clean, and yet we must remember that others view it as a public park. We are working on offering grace when they don’t want to listen to our preferences and not be offended when we are not invited to their events.
We want people to be comfortable and relax without feeling like they are intruding in our space, and yet balance our own children’s ability to play there without conflict or hard feelings. Please pray for us that we will learn how to be gracious, generous and kind hosts to all who use our facilities. Keep praying for “friends that stay” for our kids as it has not been easy with homeschooling and COVID to meet others outside of our ministry. Thank you for your support of us!