Developing a Sense of Pride of Place

Sunni's picture

I should have known that years of hearing “I pay the bills, so what I want goes” would have some effect on the snolfs and me—and perhaps I did, but only now that I’ve been clear of that environment can I fully appreciate the effect it had on us.

In just ten weeks in our new house, we have worked pretty hard at cleaning it up and fixing a few minor things in addition to settling in. While working outside last weekend, it occurred to me that a big part of why I’m doing all this is because even though we’re renting it, this house will be our home for a few years (I’m hopeful for more than that, but one never knows what one will encounter on the path), and I want it to look nice and be a nice place to live for us. I’ve been encouraging the snolfs to think of it in those terms, too, even before I made this connection; I know that phrase rankled with them as much as it did me, so I’m being very explicit with them that this is our home, and their contributions to it are welcome.

While living at our previous place, I made half-hearted attempts to create and stick with routine cleaning and maintenance, but I remember sometimes outright asking myself, “Why bother?”. And so I mostly didn’t ... which didn’t serve as a good role model for the snolfs.

My attitude has rapidly shifted. It matters that a tree was planted too close to the house, because it will damage the foundation if it gets large enough. Better to take care of it now than to leave it to become a problem for someone else; even though the damage might not have occurred until long after my departure, I don’t want to contribute to it, even if only passively. It’s a pleasure to oil the kitchen woodwork regularly, so that it stays supple and beautiful. We’ll get enjoyment out of that, plus our actions now will pave the way for this century-old house to be a comfortable home for others.

In short, I think I’m developing a sense of pride of place, even though this place may be just a temporary stop for us. And I think the snolfs sense this difference and are changing some of their behavior accordingly. They’re more willing to work in the yard than I’ve ever seen, and they treat this house more respectfully than any other place we’ve lived (obviously, age is a confounding variable here; but it doesn’t account for all the change I’ve seen over these relatively few weeks).

I like this change. It will serve all three of us well. And it is enormously rewarding to see just a little bit of care and effort bring so much benefit.

Wonderful

It is great to feel at home, knowing that it is from the efforts of all that live there. Glad to hear that you are on a good path.

Bravo!

Congratulations! I'm tickled to see things working out so well for you now. Sounds like a win/win for you and the snolfs this time. :)

And good to see you back here again.

I like this!

(I've been spending too much time in that "social media" place, because I wanted to just click the "Like" button, which is insufficient anyway.)

It could be the snolfs are reacting to your relative contentment and independence in the new place, too. They're happy that you're happy and it makes everyone want to preserve the place where you're happy. This is great news!

Virtuous Circle

It sounds as if you've got a virtuous circle going there. Huzzah!

It really is.

I’m sure my improved attitude and change in behavior has influenced the kids. One other very interesting thing (which I can’t believe I failed to mention before) is that they willingly help out—sometimes even on their own initiative—without expecting to be paid for their labor. This is an enormous change, and a very important one in several ways.

Things aren’t perfect, of course: we all have bouts of laziness or distraction or inattention, but instead of tearing each other down when those happen, we all try to be supportive and helpful. The results speak for themselves.