Make your home a pep rally. Cheer on your family members. Let them know that they have great potential, and that you believe in them and all God has in store for them. Celebrate ordinary events, such as by showing up as a family to your kids’ concerts or sports games to support them. Celebrate rites of passage like puberty, moving to a new school, getting a first job, or learning to drive. Celebrate birthdays, accomplishments, and great efforts. Appreciate the uniqueness of each family member, and help your family see how their different strengths and weaknesses and complement each other. Encourage family members to pursue their dreams, and support them along the way.

Make your home a research lab. Help your family members discover their interests and talents and develop their skills. Teach your kids basic life skills in a variety of important areas, like: food preparation, mechanics, technology, yard care, reading and writing, leadership, and physical fitness. Give them plenty of opportunities to gain new knowledge in their areas of interest, and put that new knowledge into practice in their lives. When one of your kids shows a strong interest in something that doesn’t interest you, ask God to help you step into that child’s world and support him or her.

Make your home a school. Teach your kids skills they’ll need to be successful in life, including people skills (such as making introductions, phone etiquette, thank-you notes, table manners, and hosting other people) self-management skills (like taking care of personal hygiene, managing time and money well, organizing space well, and doing homework and studying for tests effectively), home management skills (doing the chores needed to maintain a clean and organized home), spiritual disciplines (such as Bible reading, praying, and attending church and youth group) and developing biblical character and values.

Make your home a museum. Remember the work God has done in your family’s life, and the heritage you share as a family. Keep and display unique items that memorialize answered prayers or meaningful experiences in your family’s life together. Tell family stories, and record them in writing, through scrapbooking, through audio or video recordings, or in some other way.

Make your home a playground. Be intentional about having fun together as a family at home. Laugh often. Play board games together in your living room or play baseball in your yard. Have picnics in your yard or bake cookies in your kitchen. Go on family outings (like bowling or ice skating) and take road trips together. Don’t worry about the messes that happen at home when you have fun together; it’s worth the cleanup time to have fun.

Make your home a business office. Manage your family’s business well. Use a central calendar to schedule each family member’s events, activities, and appointments. Organize your important papers into short-term and long-term files, and develop an effective system for organizing other items like clothes, toys, and keepsakes. Assign everyone specific household responsibilities, and keep track of them.

Make your home a hospitality house. Invite others to enjoy your home with your family. Providing an environment that’s emotionally safe, friendly, and clean, makes people feel welcome. When people visit, offer them food and drink and engage them in good conversation. Do all you can to provide a pleasant experience for everyone who enters your home.

Make your home a cultural center. Help your family members learn about and appreciate people who are different from them, whether because of their race, age, disabilities, or some other reason. Get to know your own family’s heritage, and celebrate it. Support missions work together.

Be available to your family. As either a mom or a dad, recognize just how vital your presence and participation is to your family. Make it a priority to be available when your family needs you, while also taking time to care for your personal needs so you don’t get burned out.

Work well with your partner. Invest in your marriage regularly to keep it strong. Handle parenting disagreements in private so you can present a united front to your kids after you reach an agreement. Pray together often. If you’re a single parent, surround yourself with a network of caring people who can support and encourage you in all the specific ways you need help.

Adapted from My Heart’s at Home: Becoming the Intentional Mom Your Family Needs, copyright 2007 by Jill Savage. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or.,  

 Jill Savage is the founder and executive director of Hearts at Home, an organization committed to helping moms love their lives. Jill is a columnist with the Pantagraph newspaper in Illinois, a popular speaker, and author of several books and the coauthor of Got Teens? She and her husband, Mark, a senior pastor, serve together in ministry within the church and through their family. They have five children and a son-in-law.