Jenni Osborn


The Hospitality ‘Gene’

Isn’t it fascinating how much is passed down from one generation to another? There’s genetics and the scientific building blocks of our body shape, skin colour, eye and hair colour, including in some cases, illnesses etc. There’s also the traits we have picked up via the nurture (or otherwise) of our parents or caregivers. I’ve been away with my family, including my Mum and Dad and Mum and I had more time together than we usually do so have chatted about all sorts of things. We are not very alike physically but there are definite commonalities of personality and habits that we have cultivated, one of these is hospitality.

I am hospitable. I love to have friends and family round, if you’re a friend of mine then you know that if I am in the house, my door is unlocked and you can ring the bell and walk right in. I consider it a mark of true friendship and hospitality. I love a home that is full of people, a table that everyone contributes to and is often groaning under the weight of all the food that appears from all the contributors. We have also had meals with friends which have consisted of next-to-nothing, but just the joining with others around the table is meaningful. The church community I belong to helps to run 3 allotments not far from where I live and we have a meal there, often using allotment produce, every Friday. Always simple, always hearty and always significant. My Mum is hospitable, she loves to invite people round for food, she always goes out of her way to make it special with soft lighting, a well-laid table and all the accoutrements that go with that. Hers is a more refined table than mine, both welcoming, warm and friendly places to be despite the differences.

The dictionary definition of hospitable is ‘favourable to life and growth’ and I think this is what is so significant. It actually doesn’t matter if we never invite people into our home, it doesn’t matter whether we ask our guests to contribute or do a whole meal ourselves, we can still be hospitable people who are favourable to life and growth.