Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

KITCHEN MENTALITY vs. BACKYARD MENTALITY

When you have people over for dinner, where do they usually flock? In the kitchen! It’s interesting, isn’t it? In most homes the guests usually pass through the living room, family room, or den first before they get to the kitchen. They certainly could stop, make themselves comfortable, and start chatting with you there. But 9 times out of 10, they end up in the kitchen. Granted, you might say, “Well, that’s because I’m in there preparing the meal.” Yes, but even long before or long after the dinner, we gather and chat in the kitchen. It’s the hub. It’s the nerve center. It’s the headquarters of your home. Some of the deepest conversations have taken place in the kitchen. You lean against the cabinets, or maybe sit on the counter, and begin to share. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s far less formal than a living room. Maybe the kitchen has a more “down-home” feel, or more welcoming atmosphere. Whatever the reason, we gather and we gab. It’s open. It’s friendly. It’s inviting. It’s care-free. It’s comfortable. And we embrace it. It’s the “kitchen mentality.”

Contrast this with the “backyard mentality.” Backyards are swimming with privacy fences. They’re tall. They’re stale. They’re uninviting. They’re…well…private. They keep you from ever having to converse with your neighbors. They thwart all conversation between you and the folks you live next to or behind. And the crazy thing is we put these things up on purpose. Why? Because we want privacy. We don’t want to be bothered, or interrupted, or invaded, or infringed upon.

Yet…back in the kitchen…we’ll talk for hours…with long time friends or brand new acquaintances. I think sometimes we suffer from social schizophrenia.

Maybe we should take our kitchen mentality out into the world with us. Perhaps we should adopt the attitude that the world we do life in is our kitchen. Think about it. What would happen if we took our kitchen mentality to the bleachers at the ballgame? And we visited…openly…warm and friendly-like. What if we treated our offices or cubicles like our kitchens and not like our backyards? Granted we might not get much work done, but you get the idea. What would happen if when we went to the store or mall and took our kitchen mentality with us? What if we greeted people with a friendly face, were kind to others, chatted with the people we stood in line with, etc?

Here’s the deal…too often when we leave our homes, we leave with our backyard mentality. We have our invisible privacy fences up. We shut out the world around us. We’re oblivious to the needs of others. We go to the store, gather our things, and get out. We barely even look people in the eye, let alone strike up a conversation or flash a smile at anyone. We don’t want to be bothered, or interrupted, or invaded, or infringed upon. Unfortunately, we frequently leave our kitchen mentality at home, and bring our backyard mentality with us.

Life is a precious thing. The world is an adventure. People are unique. But if our backyard mentality governs us, we’ll miss out on all three. Embrace your kitchen mentality, experience something brand new, go bless people, and live on purpose.

Where can you take your kitchen mentality today?

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