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Sample - Chapter 7


STRUCTURE DETERMINES FUNCTION. ENGINEERS, Architects, Chiropractors and Physiologists all know this to be true. Enlightened parents know this as well. Once you determine the values, ideals, and ethics most important to you, you are ready to make conscious choices about how you will structure your home to facilitate the sharing of your values with your children.

The material items we bring into our home are all expressions of who we are, what we value, and what path we wish our family to travel. While it may at first seem overly controlling to have clearly defined house rules, any family has rules although they may not have conceptualized them as such. Do you allow people to smoke in your home? Are visitors allowed to leapfrog from one piece of furniture to another? How would you feel about someone bringing pornography or racist materials into your home? What about frying up a steak in your kitchen?

While it is commendable to work towards "tolerating" other people's life choices, we also need to set an example for our children of sometimes taking a stand that may be socially risky but consistent with our own ethics. We cannot stop other people from doing some things we may object to in public, but in our homes we can choose to invite in only people who will respect our choices. Therefore, we have an obligation to communicate to our visitors when their actions may be inconsistent with the values we choose to uphold in our homes.

No matter what philosophy, religion, or ethical system we may embrace, if we aspire to grow, mature, and find meaning in our life we must work to bring our behavior more and more in line with our espoused values. If we are successful in these efforts our attention will naturally be drawn to increasingly more subtle aspects of our lives. Every choice that we make, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, either moves us in the direction we wish to go or hinders us in our evolution. Nowhere is this more apparent then in the choices we make regarding our home.

My home is a place in which I can relax. It is the one place in the world where the lifestyle I passionately embrace is the norm. When I fall into bed at night and pull up my thick quilted comforter, I don't want to be covered in the downy feathering of tortured birds. If I sit down in my big easy chair and invite my children onto my lap to talk about treating each other with kindness, I don't want to be sitting upon the tanned and preserved skin of a violently killed and dismembered cow. When my daughter peruses the cabinets and refrigerator looking for a snack, I can be comfortable with her choice knowing that it still falls within my guidelines of being healthy, wholesome, and humane. My home is my sanctuary. The products that gain entrance to my sanctuary do so by conscious choice. This gives me a little oasis in the world where my values set the tone. The deed shapes the heart. For our children, our conscious choices start with the food we serve, the clothes they wear, the soaps and lotions they put on their bodies, and then further -- to the artifacts that shape their minds: toys.


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