neighbors movingDays ago, I emptied the last cardboard moving box and heaved a weary sigh of relief as I flattened it for recycling. At least now I could see all our stuff.

Where to put it is another matter.

At this stage of my life, I’ve decided the best option for me is to let the house itself provide a boundary. My goal is to fill the spaces provided, and not to store much. Time will tell whether that goal survives or crashes on a heap of good intentions.

I have five old bookcases and one 3-drawer dresser lining the walls of the garage where I put plastic containers of holiday decorations, out-of-season clothes, tools, that sort of thing. A shelf overhanging the hood of the car gives a place for bulky items like a tent and sleeping bags.

In the midst of all this settling in, neighbors and friends lend their helping hands.

neighborsneighbors girlsOn Sunday afternoon, the two girls who live next door came over with plates of homemade pastries and Welcome messages. Other neighbors gifted us with food or plants, and conversations started which will be continued.

The fifth-grade girl two houses down from us has a Lemonade Stand on the front lawn where she’s collecting money for a food pantry here in town.  Here’s an idea about kids and hospitality.

Hospitality is a character trait.

And character is what we are at our core. “There is an inner self that forms the root of the outer self,” wrote Lewis Smedes.”The inner self is probably heart and mind. About how we intend to shape our behavior. About the tilt of our wills. How we are disposed to live. Maybe deeper things than this too, but at least this.”

An important part of children’s spiritual formation is about growing in character. More than that, of course, but for children, especially that.

Tweetable:  Are people moving into your building or onto your block? Involve the kids as you welcome the newcomers. Some ideas here can inspire you. Click to Tweet