House rules

If you head on over to your local pinterest board and do a search for "house rules" you'll come across tens upon hundreds of photos like this: 

I find these house rules fascinating because they capture so succinctly the values a family holds.  I also enjoy reading other family's house rules because it helps me distill the values I want upheld most in my own house.  And well, some that I don't.  "Be happy" for instance, doesn't appeal to me.  I'd be more apt to put down, "It's okay to be sad for a while," but maybe I'm reading too much into it.  

John and I sat down and had a great discussion coming up with our own house rules.  To keep in line with the way the rules are done on the pictures above, our goal was to stay between 8-12 rules.  We came up with nine worth writing down.

The shema and the two greatest commandments will always be the basis for our lives and how we live those out can be summarized in our house rules:

Hold your convictions with grace
Practice hospitality and generosity
Be courageous
Come to the defense of those in need
Live passionately and with integrity
Seek peace with God & his creation
Be gentle and gracious
Honor the image of God in others
Do all these things in humility

It seems so nice and tidy to read it like that, but making this list proved to be a challenge!  There were so many things we thought we could add or edit or tweak... there were a few sentences that could have easily turned into an essays with footnotes but that wouldn't make for nice looking wall art, would it? In the end we were mostly satisfied.  I have a feeling our house rules may continue to be a work in progress.  

Do you have house rules? Written?  Unwritten? Share a few!


  1. one of our very few verbalized house rules: Everyone needs to be having an okay time. Not the best time. But if we are at a function or family gathering and someone is cranky/miserable/sad, it's time to pack it in before everyone is that way. We've had to do this a couple of times at some family gatherings, and it feels like the easy way out - but your parents/friends/grandparents aren't the one getting up in the middle of the night with a child!

    1. Interesting Heather! What about with teenagers- if you have a grumpy teen with a bad attitude should still you pack up and leave? Or ask them to endure the gathering for the sake of the family?

  2. I am so interested to hear more about what you mean by honoring the image of God in others. Can you say more about that?

    1. Sure! Genesis 1 tells us that God made humans in his own image. So just by nature of existing, every person reveals a bit of who God is. We interpret that image-bearing to mean that every person is worthy of a certain level of respect and dignity. We can disagree with their actions, ideas, choices, convictions etc., but we should not degrade or humiliate them as a person. Probably the most extreme example would be when Osama Bin Laden was killed- we thought his death was likely appropriate but that our reaction should not be to cheer or to rejoice in his death, but to be sober minded and deeply grieve the fact that he caused so much unbearable suffering and to regret the fact that his death was necessary.

      In everyday life honoring the image of God in everyone means being kind and compassionate, extending hospitality even with we disagree, and seeking and hoping that every person would be transformed be the love of Christ- even our enemies. This is a very hard practice, that's probably why we see it being so important!

  3. just a fyi Alexander Creative on etsy will customize your rules (he's a real-life friend of ours). He does amazing work too.


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