Our last year of being here, we have learned a few things about being a large family living in small accommodations. There are positives and negatives to any situation. I’ve read many articles and posts highlighting all the glimmery spots of smaller living, and while there are really great benefits to smaller living, there are also hard parts in it. I want to share some honest feedback about the benefits and the challenges that we have encountered during this time of scaling back on house size. I will be sharing this over a period of several posts.
The first thing to share is the character lessons learned by downsizing in house size.
Scaling Back is a Great Time to Sharpen One’s Character
Lessons on Thankfulness and Contentment
As I mentioned in my last post on how we got to the purchasing of this house, all of us were experiencing a lot of disappointment about being here in this town and in this house. While disappointment was expected, what I quickly realized was that the kids, as well as I were grumbling and complaining. Quite bluntly, we were sinning. Scripture tells us plainly that God’s will for our lives is to give thanks in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Also, Paul gives us example in Philippians to be content.
“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”
Clearly we needed help in his area. We needed to practice thankfulness, even though we weren’t feeling thankful.
To work on this we did a couple of things. I picked back up my Thankful Journal and made a practice to try to write down thanksgivings each day.
I also made each child a thankful journal for them to record those things in their lives that they were thankful for.
In addition, we took up the practice of Thankful Thursdays that a friend told me about. Every Thursday, she had her children write a note of thanks to someone in their life. We’ve missed several Thursdays, but more often than not, the children and I all try to write a note of thanks to someone. Sometimes that note is because someone blessed us with a physical item, other times we express thankfulness to them for speaking kind words or truthful words to us.
We’ve also made a point to discuss with our kids how truly blessed we are. We read to them stories from Gospel for Asia highlighting our great luxuries compared to the poor conditions so many others live in. We discuss the blessing it is to have all our family here, not struggling with chronic disease.
Bearing with One another in love
Living in close quarters gives us many opportunities to practice patience, grace, and just good old bearing with one another in love. Since every time we turn around, some one is there, and it is rare to get to have a room or space in which someone is not in there with us and we have had to learn different coping mechanisms. Some days we do this well, but often times we do not.
Giving preference to One Another
Eight people in a small house and only 2 bathrooms gives us a natural environment to learn to give preference to one another. It seems like the bathrooms are always needed at the same time around here. I am not really sure why everyone seems to think they need access to the bathroom at the same time, but they do. So, we are daily reminding our children to wait patiently on the person in the restroom. Also, we have conversations with them about how little one’s may have more urgent needs. This character lesson plays out in many other instances in our home. It’s also a trait that I realized I could use some more growth in as well as the kids.
What are some character lessons you have recently learned in a hard place? Please share in the comments.