I looked around the living room and didn't see my (then) 3.5 year old son anywhere. His brother (about 5 years old at the time) occupied center stage and entertained our guests with gusto. I wondered where the younger boy could be so I went in search.
I found him sitting in his bedroom with one of our guests quietly working a puzzle. My first thought was that he felt sick but, after asking a few questions, I realized he just felt overwhelmed by the 10 or 12 twenty-somethings celebrating Christmas with us.
Since that night I always expect 2 things to happen during any event my family hosts: one son will be found in the middle of the group chatting their ears off and the other son will seek out a quiet corner with only a couple of people to listen to.
The funny thing is that my husband and I are just like the boys. I'm the one who loves a BIG party and feels neglectful if I don't have a conversation with every person in attendance. My husband on the other hand prefers groups of 6 to 8 and looks for a nice quiet corner when he's at a large party.
I confess this difference in personality has caused me a great deal of frustration and annoyance in the past. I wanted my husband to enjoy the same kind of parties I enjoyed. I wanted him to engage people in conversation. I wanted us to host large cook-outs and church-wide fellowships.
But that isn't the way God created my husband or one of my sons. God designed them to prefer small gatherings and me to love a big bash. He made us different which isn't good or bad, just different.
What does my family's personality differences mean for me as a hostess?
Well, I realized after a recent large gathering that I need to consider the introverts in my family when I volunteer to host an event. That means only hosting one large gathering a year and planning small intimate dinners the rest of the time. It also means that large gathering should be in the summer so we can be in the backyard and my introverts won't be overwhelmed by 30+ people in our 1150 sq. foot home.
While I don't necessarily need to give up big parties I do need to adjust my expectations and extend hospitality to my own family first. After all, what's the point of 30 friends and acquaintances having a great time if some of the people I love most in the world are miserable?
It's a balancing act that I'm learning to make for my husband and son. I'd love to learn how you balance the different personalities in your home while obeying the mandate to offer hospitality.
Do you have any suggestions for me or is this the first time you've thought about personalities and their influence on hospitality?