The Strength of a Nation


“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” – Confucius

Today was an utterly horrible day at home. It started slow, with me getting another 8-hour-plus sleep, and waking up terribly foggy. I will conduct some experiments on this, and perhaps cap it at 7-7.5 hours, and see what the difference is. Also, I woke after 6:30am for the second day in a row, after many many 5-5:30am wake ups. I can’t pinpoint the cause, but there will be experiments, oh yes. 

I haven’t written much about home. I don’t actually know why. Maybe it’s a bit close, or maybe it’s always been such a base for me, such a strong foundation, that I haven’t needed to, or felt the need to?

Either way, today started foggy, got irritable, detoured via snappy, stopped for hours at angry and frustrated, and went on quick side trips to screaming and yelling at everyone. Sadly, I wasn’t the only one. Bel and both the kids were on this day-trip to grumpytown today too, and it was, at times, one of my hardest days at home in probably six months.

There are a couple of things I can say that are positive.

Firstly, we didn’t stay in the house the whole day. (Probably to the immediate pleasure of our neighbours.) We hit the park and the beach for a few hours before lunch, and that helped wash away the anger and frustration that all of us were feeling.

Secondly, dinner was pretty peaceful. Possibly we were all too hungry to argue, and possibly we were just being peaceful. Whatever the reason, it seemed a great way to honour my wife’s cooking expertise with the roast chicken dinner.

Finally, the day ended well. After the worst yelling match of the day, Bel went outside for a breather, I got the kids ready to go out for the afternoon, and we both eventually made peace, apologised profusely for the horrible things we’d said, and had a BIIIIIG hug. (Hugs always always make things feel better.) The kids enjoyed some more time out this afternoon, Bel & I were happy, and the kids bathed happily and went to bed smoothly.

“Home” is such a loaded word. It can mean country of origin or where you reside. It has connotations of (for most) safety, comfort, and love. For others, the word “home” is associated with a personal meander through hell on a daily basis.

For me, it has always been my sanctuary, my refuge. Which is, I guess, why I get so deeply, viscerally affected when there is upset or discord at home.

Confucius obviously knew enough about the home, and the impact it can have on people, to come up with today’s quote. Integrity in this context can have both common meanings – honesty and strong moral principles, OR the state of being whole and undivided – and both are apt.

(Lots of introspection about definitions lately, yes? It’s all semantics to me… har har)

So anyway, I chose this quote to recognise that there was a distinct LACK of integrity at home today – we were completely divided for much of the day. And, based on my own personal experiences, perhaps to offer a variation on Confucius’ quote:

The strength of a person derives from the integrity of their home.

What say you?

With humility and love,
Israel. xo