My mother is an expert at hospitality. She has a knack for drawing people in–for making them feel valued in a conversation, welcome in her home, and understood no matter who they are. When I was little, I was always amazed at how fearless my mother was at reaching out to people.
She modeled the truth that hospitality is about more than simply cooking a meal for someone–it requires genuine and selfless consideration for another’s needs or comforts.
My mom displays such confidence and graciousness in her conversations with people that I was shocked when I learned from her how shy she had been as a child. She said she wasn’t just shy, she was painfully shy. And when I heard that, I knew how she felt. I suppose shyness is something we shared.
Somewhere in the course of her life, my mom learned to overcome her shyness in order to better serve others. She taught me the basics of doing the same early on.
I remember her telling me over and over again: look people in the eye, and smile!
Even when you can’t think of anything to say, you can engage anyone with these two simple actions. Eye contact shows confidence, openness, and an interest in the other person. Smiling builds warmth and encouragement.
In fact, you can build an entire practice of hospitality on these two things, which is exactly what Mom did.
You’re a lucky person if you get invited over for a meal or you stay the night at Meadow Lake. My mother will treat you like royalty! And I want her to be treated like that today…Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
When I started writing this post, it was far too long for one entry! So I’ve decided to write a mini-series on hospitality, instead! Come back later this week for what my mother taught me about the WHY of hospitality.
Posts in this series:
Part 1: What My Mother Taught Me About Hospitality
Part 2: Why Practice Hospitality?
Part 3: 7 People Who Need Your Hospitality
Part 4: How to Host Guests for a Meal
Part 5: Company Menus for Any Occasion
Part 6: How to Make an Overnight Guest Feel At Home
Part 7: Learn to Say Thank You: How to Accept Gifts Graciously
Other resources on hospitality:
My Hospitality Pinterest board
The Joy of Hospitality series @ Young Wife’s Guide
Hospitality posts @ Intentional By Grace
You will find a whole chapter devoted to hospitality in my cookbook, Real Food for the Real Homemaker!