I will NEVER forget the moment I realized God had a specific plan when he put me and Jeff together. We were guests at a rehearsal dinner in 1996. Two of our best friends, Stormy and Lacey, were getting married and some of their family friends were hosting their rehearsal dinner. This house was set up to entertain. It had a huge pond with geese and it was beautiful! But the thing that spoke to us was their set-up for their teen children. They had a gameroom that was its own separate building behind the pool area. It was so cool! They told us they wanted to create a space for their teen children and their friends to hang out! This idea leaped out at both of us! I loved this because it was so clear to me that we were intended to create a home in which our children (at the time we just had two and one was literally 5 weeks old) and their friends would always feel welcome.
At our wedding this past weekend, one young lady (who is friends with that very 5 week old, now she’s 19) stood up and said that Jeff and I had helped raise a bunch of them and that they even knew the code to our front door! Ha! What a pat on the back! Confirmation that in spite of all our
screw ups mistakes, we did do that right! We created a home where every teen that entered felt eternally welcome.
The truth is this makes my heart sing! I do love all of them so very much! And even though we’re halfway through the raising of our children, I hope they ALL feel welcome in our home for the rest of my time on this earth! So, here’s just a few tips to create the house they all hang out in…
First and Foremost…
Have Fun Offspring
Haha! If your kids aren’t fun, no matter what you do, they won’t be able to draw their friends to their home. I don’t know exactly why, but my kids are borderline crazy! And I LOVE it! One of the best compliments I ever got was when they were all in elementary. I was dropping them off at school one day and the assistant principal pulled open the mini-van door (yes, I had a mini-van and, yes, it was awesome). She said ” I don’t know what ya’ll do, but every morning when you pull up to school you all are laughing at something.” It’s because they’re crazy!
Always Have An Open Door Policy
I’ve always felt in my soul, the-more-the-merrier. This mindset has certainly held true during the raising of all of my teens. I truly want each of these kids to feel they can walk in our front door any time they want and that it is always a safe place for them. There is never a time they are not welcome.
Creating Zones Of Interest
Sort of like the witch used candy to draw Hansel and Gretel in, I have areas full of goodies to draw them in. My motives are different from the witch’s of course. Lol! I’m not in to cannibalism, I assure you!
Just around the corner from my front door, tucked underneath the stairs is a little drink station.
I attempt to keep these fridge drawers stalked with an assortment of cold drinks. It’s taking some time to train my new College Station kids, but in Midland, they all B-Lined it straight to the drink station. Maybe I should stop using references like the Hansel and Gretel thing!
Continuing down the goody trail, another tip is to have canisters, bowls, baskets etc. full of snacks. Trust me, they get devoured in a hurry!
We have a pool in the backyard for the very purpose of having a home for teens to hang out at. On the back porch I have a cabinet FULL of beach towel and yet ANOTHER fridge full of drinks for them to come and stay as long as they want.
Their Own Space
Again, with the snacks! I’m not quite ready for the BIG reveal of this gameroom yet! But soon I will be ready to show you every space in our home! For the time being, however, I can’t write a post about making teens welcome in your home and not talk about a gameroom! This space is THEIR space! There are all kinds of games in the “gameroom” (Imagine that), plus a big screen tv, a game table, a wii, etc… And a camera installed in the corner, mahahahaha! That’s my evil laugh 🙂 Oh how I wish I could put emoji’s in these posts!!
All of these things could be as expensive or as inexpensive as you’d like. The real draw for teens is, if they feel welcome in a healthy, happy, fun environment. They are the ultimate detectors of genuine affection and they need all they can get. Even though most of these kids have fabulous homes of their own, we are ALL in need of MORE love and acceptance!
The topic of creating a space to share with teens speaks straight to my heart and is a HUGE part of why I do what I do. I hope you find some inspiring ideas here, in order to do the same! So, go create your own space for teens to CONNECT in!
Happy Connection Monday!