When I was a child still at home, my dad often quoted the following poem to my four sisters and me. The meaning has stuck with me through the years and I believe it will stick with today’s children as well if we take the time to repeat it for them.

It Takes a Heap O' Livin

By Edgar A. Guest

It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t'make it home,

A heap o' sun an' shadder, an' ye somtimes have t'roam

Afore ye really 'preciate the things ye lef' behind,

An' hunger for 'em somehow, with 'em allus on yer mind.

It don't make any difference how rich ye get t'be,

How much yer chairs an' tables coast, how great yer luxury;

It ain' a hom t'ye, though it be the palace of a king,

Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped round everything.

Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute

Afore it's home there's got t'be a heap o' livin' in it;

Within the walls there's got t'be some babies born, and then

Right there ye've got t'bring 'em up t'women good, and' men;

And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn't part

With anything they ever used--they've grown into yer heart:

The old high-chairs, the play things, too, the little shoes they wore

Ye hoard; an' if ye could ye'd keep the thumb-marks on the door.

Ye'eve got t'weep t'make it home, ye'eve got t'sit an' sigh

An' watch beside a loved one's bed, an' know that Death is nigh;

An' in the stillness o' the night t'see Death's angel come

An' close the eyes o' her that smiled, an' leave her sweet voice dumb.

For these are scenes that grip the heart, an' when yer tears are dried,

Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;

An' tuggin' at ye always are the pleasant memories

O' her that was an' is no more -- ye can't escape from these.

Ye've got to sing an' dance fer years, ye've got t'romp an' play,

An' learn t'love the things ye have by usin' 'em each day;

Even the roses round the porch must blossom year by year

Afore they 'come a part o' ye, suggestin' someone dear

Who used t'love 'em long ago, an' trained 'em just t'run

The way they do, so's they would get the early mornin' sun;

Ye've got to love each brick an' stone from cellar up t'dome;

It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t'make it home.

How very true!