A house is a physical building and becomes a home when tangible and intangible qualities exist. It is personal to each individual or family. For me, there are some basic and extraordinary qualities that make a home. It is a refuge where I can be myself and feel safe both physically and emotionally. I am blessed to have parents who have turned our house into a home. It is also a place for extended family to come and visit and feel welcome.
My parents moved a couple of years ago to a house they plan to live in for the rest of their lives so that my sister and I would get used to our new home before going to college. They wanted to ensure that when we return from school breaks or to visit when we move away, we can say, “We are going home for Christmas or going home to visit our parents”. When we visit my grandparents, it feels like home because they treat us like we belong, and we don’t feel like visitors.
When I leave for college and move into dorm housing, I will have the opportunity to turn my room into a “home” even though it is a temporary living space. A home reflects our identity of who we are with the bedding, furniture, pictures on the wall or desk, and other personal items. This will help me adjust and provide a space that is mine.
Another addition to making my living space a home is to foster relationships. A dorm can be a home if I develop friendships and build relationships with my “neighbors” in the dorm. A great neighborhood and community make a house feel more like home. When our family goes away for a few days or on vacation, we can count on our neighbors to keep an eye on our home, get the mail, and water plants. We of course do the same for our neighbors.
I am fortunate to have an actual home to live in, but others are not so fortunate. We all should have a place to call home. However, I am humbled when I see people set up a place no matter how small to make it a home. For some it is a car and for others it is a tent or temporary shelter. They have personal items that give them comfort and safety. It is our duty to reach out and help others so we can give them a sense of home with food, clothing, compassion, and other resources.
What makes a house a home? All I need is myself to make a house a home, and my home is anywhere I go. Having friends and family add to the joy of a home.