May 20, 2024 | Twigs for the Nest

The Home as a “School of Love”

by Liz Voboril

The Home as a ‘School of Love’
Justin Whitmel Earley on Habits of the Household

 We’re grateful that we had the opportunity to have Justin Whitmel Earley, author of The Common Rule and Habits of the Household, with us on May 1 for our 2024 Parent Enrichment Night. 

One night during a chaotic bedtime with his four boys, Justin realized that he had never applied what he’d learned about personal habits to the realm of family life. He had become attuned to the power of habit after running into a mental health crisis in his early years of lawyering: “My body had finally become converted to the anxiety and busyness I’d worshiped through my habits and routines. All the years of a schedule built on going nonstop to try to earn my place in the world had finally rubbed off on my heart. My head said one thing, that God loves me no matter what I do, but my habits said another, that I’d better keep striving in order to stay loved. In the end, I started to believe my habits–mind, body, and soul.”

 Beginning with that bedtime epiphany, Justin began to think about how everyday household rhythms can become part of spiritual formation for our families. He writes, “The most Christian way to think about our households is that they are little ‘schools of love,’ places where we have one vocation, to form all who live here into lovers of God and neighbor.” By reframing our households as schools of love, Justin reminds us, “the greatest spiritual work happens in the normal moments of domestic life.”

 Justin’s talk is full of practical suggestions around mealtimes, discipline, and technology. In Habits of the Household, you can read his ideas around family devotions, marriage, work, play, conversation and bedtime.

 Summer is coming! Are there a few small habits that might help make summer more restorative and renewing for your family? Explore more on