Photo by Reggie Joiner

I love the road. There is something about it that clears my head, awakens my senses, and gives me some distance from the drama of life. All roads have something in common–they either take you closer to home or farther away. I don’t think I really thought about that until I started living with a GPS. Now I go everywhere with a visual reminder of where I am in relationship to home. I love the fact that I can take any back road that interests me, get off the path to discover new places, and all I have to do is hit a button that says “home” to take me back. Sometimes when I think about that button on the GPS, I wonder about the people who either won’t or can’t press the home button. I meet them often when I travel. I’m not always sure why they can’t go back.

Maybe it’s too painful or messy.

Maybe they are convinced no one wants them.

Or maybe they don’t actually have a place to call home.

Our concept of home is a powerful force. It either invites us back from the roads we take to refuel us, or it can drive us farther away to find escape. There is a classic story of a son who left his dad to “get away” so he could discover a new life. He left home to get rich, gain popularity, and have fun. Interestingly enough, since he had never taken a Dave Ramsey money management course, he wasted what money he had, lost all of his friends and ended up homeless. The turning point of the story happened when he remembered something about home. It was the memory of his relationship with his dad that compelled him to take the road home and start over. He simply concluded that he could go home, admit his failure, and his dad would forgive him.

The classic reunion of the prodigal son with his father teaches a powerful principle about the road home. Not only did the father forgive his son, but he threw him a party. I think the son was able to hit the home button, because he knew what to expect at home. Whenever you create a home that’s characterized by joy and forgiveness you give your kids a reason to know that whatever happens, wherever they go, they can always come home. It’s one thing to start over with people you don’t know and give life a shot. But the best way to experience unconditional love in life is to learn how to start over with people who have history with you.

Don’t forget that as a parent you are making a lasting impression on how your kids view home. How do you want your kids to feel when they think about home?