A home is…


Beacon board member Jack Sjoholm opened the June board meeting with the following remarks. We thought they were worth sharing for your consideration.

In preparation for this meeting, I spoke with a number of close friends about what home means to them and how it affects the way they live their lives.

Almost all had multiple homes but a few themes appeared:

  • A home is where I can do and be what I want
  • A home helps define both our family and our social units – it is a gathering place
  • A home is a place that we can personalize to reflect who are and what is important to us
  • A home is a place that I am able to fill with things that help define who I am and support me when I am there
  • A home is a place where I keep books that have helped change me and reflect that evolution
  • A home is place where I keep photos and mementos that have recorded my life and the lives of our family and friends
  • A home is where I keep those paper and electronic resources that I regularly use

Here are some conclusions I reached and shared with these friends:

  • Attachment to home and place is one of the ways people preserve self-identity.
  • One of the ways homes come to reflect something of the individual is through the things within them. This personalization of space is something we all do.
  • A home can support our ‘identity’ through the way we ‘personalize’ the space in it with our own belongings – making a statement about who we are. For some people a home stops being simply bricks and mortar and starts becoming a part of who they are.
  • For some people, a home can be ‘somewhere to shut out the rest of the world.’ What is inside the home is you and people you ‘belong’ with. What’s outside is all the rest.

Of course, this only works if you actually have a home.

Jack is a member of The House of Hope Presbyterian Church, and is a co-chair of the congregation’s task force partnering to develop Prior Crossing, housing for homeless youth and young adults in St. Paul. He serves on the Beacon board of directors as its secretary.