It’s a simple word with more meanings than one would expect. It’s a term that crosses continents and has universal appeal. Sports, entertainment and even financial sectors all use the word on a regular basis. It’s a part of pop culture, music and a niche market all wrapped in one.
Today the headlines have tried to change the definition of home. The meaning has been construed to be solely about financial value, investment and an indicator of market plight, but what is missing is seeing the true definition of home in the eyes of those who own one.
I set out to see how people would define their home as well as what they thought the best part about being home is by polling homeowners on Twitter, Facebook and people that I met during my recent travels. Ironically, not a single person of the hundreds of response I received talked about the monetary value of their residence. Every response was different.
A number of responses brought the idea of a place of comfort, love, rejuvenation and even giving. Some took the concept and defined it in a physical way with the sense of dominion by calling it their palace, castle or kingdom. Others defined it more intimately by defining their home as “no place like it” and “a gathering place for friends and family.”
The only consistent thing from the responses was that everyone defines home differently.
I love some of the response when I asked what their favorite part of their home was. One responded that “it’s mine and I bought it!” My favorite is someone who answered “the creaking front door.” When I asked for an explanation they replied, “It signals my two little ones that daddy is home and they rush out to greet me every afternoon.” That’s a priceless definition.
For me, home is difficult to define. It’s defined more by memories and moments than by adjectives. There are many great orators and poets who can more eloquently define home than I ever could. Some you’re probably familiar with. The Roman philosopher and author, Pliny the Elder, was the originator of the famous phrase, “home is where the heart is.”
But perhaps the most famous quote about home is credited to a fictional girl from Kansas named Dorothy. What many people don’t realize is that Dorothy’s legendary wish while she taps her ruby red slippers is actually borrowed from an 18th century opera called Clari, The Maid of Milan and written by John Howard Payne. Payne’s lyrics, though over a hundred years old, still very much apply today in the minds of a many homeowner:
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home, oh, there’s no place like home!
Well said, Mr. Payne. Share how you define home or what’s the best part about your home in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user alancleaver_2000