A Home of Love and Respect

  • The farmhouse where Joanne and her daughters lived. Supplied

A house is a home if love and respect are shared and practiced by all family members. Home is a place of comfort and safety where you can be yourself, in a shared space. At home you can share the joys, sorrows, trials, and triumphs of life with family members. If a family lives in shared love and respect, home is the safe refuge for the whole family from the troubles of the world.

When a guest or new member arrives, everyone has to adjust, but the new member also has to learn the dynamics of the family. When I was a girl, my grandfather died and my grandmother came to live with us. That changed the family dynamics a lot, because Grandma had very strict ideas. Whether it’s a new baby or a relative, the learning of love and respect for all family members is essential to everyone’s happiness.

As a single parent with two school-aged daughters, we bought an old farmhouse in the country outside of Edmonton because my girls wanted horses. We learned together how to care for them, and we all shared the chores of living there. We also had major renovations to make, in addition to caring for the collies, cats, chickens, and horses, so we had lots of responsibilities. We each had skills to contribute, so we negotiated and took turns doing various chores. We made a list each week of the work required, and decided together who would do what. Each night we talked over supper about events of the day. We learned to listen and help each other, which helped all of us to feel valued.

A home can also expand to include outsiders. One day we were told that a neighbour girl had attempted suicide, partly because her parents were alcoholic and abusive. The girl asked the social workers if she could come live with us for a few weeks. As a family we decided we could expand our home to help her. She was best friends with my daughters, so she fit right in. We sat together at the dinner table and talked about events of each day, and learned from each other. We listened with respect, and that also helped this girl learn new ways to behave at home. With the help of social workers, this girl gained confidence, and was able to return home after a few weeks. She and the social workers helped her parents and siblings m

end their own home’s love and respect. Our family learned a lot about helping and caring for others.

Creating a loving and safe home where each family member is valued and respected for themselves is essential to everyone’s happiness. It’s the key to a lifetime of success of each family member.

Dr. Joanne McNeal is a retired art education professor, artist, singer and musician. She has lived in McCauley for almost 12 years.

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • Thanking the Plows – 110 Avenue in McCauley, between 92 Street and 95 Street, is very narrow because it was one of the first streets in Edmonton to have houses built along it. So, in the winter, the plows have nowhere to move the snow to but onto the sidewalk. When the snow began to melt this spring, it made huge puddles on the sidewalks, which turned to ice at night and made the road so narrow it was almost impassible. Joanne called the City and asked for their help to move the ice and snow. A few days later, two snowplows arrived and did an excellent job of cleaning up the spring mess. She wrote and thanked them for their work, and her photos are being included in a City employee newspaper, along with her thanks. It never hurts to say thank you when people do a great job! Joanne McNeal

  • Speaking Truth to Power – The annual Outdoor Way of the Cross took place on March 30 (Good Friday). Around 300 people took part in the walk, with numbers down a bit due to the cold weather - the coldest temperatures in the walk’s 39-year history. This year’s theme was “Speaking truth to power,” a Quaker saying used in the 50s and 60s in anti-war activities (and based on Jesus saying “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”). Stations looked at housing security, Truth and Rec- onciliation recommendations, police/courts/prisons, the environment, working people, and older people/isolation. For the first time, the Cross was carried past the new Royal Alberta Museum building. Michael Hoyt

  • Ukrainian Community Easter Celebration – On March 17 and 18, the exhibition of archive photos “History of UNF, UWO & UNYF in Pictures” took place at the Ukrainian National Federation Hall located at 10629 98 Street. The exhibition featured photographs from 1934 to 2012. Pictured above is the youth ensemble Dzherelo during a concert featuring young performers. Mykola Vorotylenko

  • Fuel for Hunger Feeds Thousands – Moe Duval (front) and his crew of volunteers served chili lunches on the street by Bissell Centre and other inner city locations every Sunday during the winter months. The group, which is not affiliated with any agency, made the chili them- selves and served about 6500 bowls of chili between December and March (approximately 500 bowls each Sunday). For more information, search for “Fuel for Hunger” on Facebook. Jim Gurnett

  • Ukrainian Community Easter Celebration – On March 17 and 18, the exhibition of archive photos “History of UNF, UWO & UNYF in Pictures” took place at the Ukrainian National Federation hall located at 10629 98 Street. The Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) celebrated its 85th anniversary last year, and on March 23, 2018 the Ukrainian Women’s Organization (UWO) celebrated its 85th anniversary. The exhibition featured photographs from 1934 to 2012. Pictured above are participants in a watercolour workshop by artist Valeriy Semenko (front, kneeling). Mykola Vorotylenko

  • Pets: A Part of Home – One part of “home” for me, is the pets we keep as part of our family. They provide love, affection, joy, and hope when we need it most. My two rescue dogs keep me walking when I don’t even feel like going outside, because they love to go for walks. Last month, I lost one of my rescued cats, Charlie, who I named after my grandfather. He was only about eight years old, but a month or so ago his breathing became laboured, and he began to lose weight. He never complained - he just wanted to sit on my lap and be stroked, so we did that. He died on Saturday night, April 7. My home feels so different without him. I took this photo of him in March, and to me he looks unwell even then. Poor little guy. I miss him. Joanne McNeal

Around the Neighbourhood

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