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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Building Block #3: OPENNESS

Openness is the third Building Block of a Happy Home.  It is the block that is the hardest to describe, and impossible to force on someone.  It is much less a "quality", and much more like an "atmosphere."  Without it, the chance for happiness in the home is only a facade, a mask & illusion.
Openness is the Freedom to Be One's Self
 Openness is akin to freedom, but the concept of freedom has become radically distorted associating the two does more good than harm. 

The concept of freedom has given many in our culture the "RIGHT" to do what ever they want, regardless how it affects other's.  Freedom of speech has given permission for many to be obnoxious.  Freedom on the internet has given permission (& protection) to those who exploit and post trash.  Freedom is relationships has led to every kind of debauchery (old school word), and sin in the question for "what makes me feel good." 

This type of freedom is what is Obtained for Self.  To the contrary, Openness is what we provide for another.  It is the atmosphere we provide, not a freedom we can obtain. 

Below are some qualities of the Openness that creates the atmosphere for a happy home:
  1. Honest Discussion:  Honest discussion goes well beyond talking about schedules, sports and TV shows.  An open atmosphere allows sharing about hopes, dreams, disappointment, hurts, apologies, etc... to occur.  It is a safe atmosphere to be honest.  
  2. Role Respect:  Every person we relate to plays a role in our lives.  We learn to respect and relate to them according to the role they play in our lives.  This affects what we share, how we share, as well as the feed back we receive.  Respect not only includes the respect of another's role, but respect the roles that you play in other's lives.  Roles are the guidelines for relating. 
  3. Unconditional Value:  Openness communicates value for another person, not because of what they do or who they perform, but simply because of who they are.  The opposite is a performance based value, in which we have to earn our value; gaining valued only in relation to how we perform or line up with another's demands.  
  4. Caring Confrontation:  While openness is freedom to be one's self, it is not permission to be or do anything.  There are times when caring confrontation.  Caring is focused not just on personal needs, but on the relationship/family/community as a whole.  When I worked on Evangel's college campus, I constantly encouraged my student leaders to Care enough to Confront.  It was care for the rules, but care for the individual, and the campus community that was our motivation to confront. 
What to have a happy home, then you need to pay attention to this building block, OPENNESS.  It is most often the missing link to happiness. 

As you consider this building block, are there examples you have seen who have modeled Openness, or perhaps of modeled the opposite in where there are many secrets or a closed system? 

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