Word of the Week: Hospitality

Every week we try to get my daughter focused on a new “value” that will help to engender respect and courtesy, and make her the kind of person other people want to be around. It’s probably something we could all use a little work on 🙂

This week’s word is “hospitality.” Dictionary.com offers the following definition:

  1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

  2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

These are traits we consider absolutely imperative. When you have someone in your home, it’s important to be hospitable. That means treating them in a warm, friendly, and generous way.

Growing up, my relatives were always hospitable. You couldn’t go to my aunt’s house, for instance, without having a full meal spread out before you (regardless of the time of day!). She somehow magically manifested this bounty of food out of nowhere, and when it was time to go there was always a container of leftovers to take with you.

I’ve caught myself a few times having to say, “sorry, I don’t have anything to offer you right now.” But that’s not the truth at all. Really, it takes only a few minutes to whip something up. And since I don’t drink pop myself, there’s no reason I can’t keep a case in the storage room just in case someone shows up!

Being hospitable also means sharing what you have when you’re out. When our daughter celebrated her birthday party, we made sure she knew that the party was an opportunity to show her friends how much she appreciates them. This is why we have cake and goodie bags and go bowling. It’s not to celebrate our own success at achieving a certain age. It’s to show our friends how much we appreciate having them in our lives, and how much we appreciate them being there for us during the previous year.

That one little shift in mindset–from focusing on ourselves as the centre of attention to focusing on others as the source of our gratitude–makes all the difference in the world when it comes to seeing our lives as abundant. And of course, the reflection of this action comes back on us as others view us as open and generous. This is where leadership comes from, and it’s where your attitude of gratitude will start to lead to bigger things in your life.

Remember: hospitality. Next time, pick up the the cheque!

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