Understanding Hospitality

Hospitality: Origin: 1325-1375 - from Middle-English - hospitalite. The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
Dictionary.com Unabridged | Based on the Random House Dictionary

Synonyms: welcome, friendliness, warmth, kindness, generosity, cordiality, sociableness, openness.
Antonym: unfriendliness.
MSN Encarta

  • Hospitality is generosity — freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character.
  • Hospitality is comradeship — friendship, association.
  • Hospitality is cordiality — warmth and geniality.
  • Hospitality is consideration — regard, care.
  • Hospitality is accommodation — compliance.

Benefits of Hospitality

  • Hospitality provides comfort — a feeling of sincere welcome.
  • Hospitality provides altruism — unselfish concern.
  • Hospitality provides compliance — a yielding deference.
  • Hospitality provides fellowship — togetherness.
  • Hospitality provides intimacy — closeness and understanding.

Acts of Hospitality in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people, was rewarding with the blessings in his older years because of his generosity and hospitality to strangers.
  • Customer Service — Every product manufactured or service industry is familiar with the need for reliable, dependable customer service. This is comes directly from the idea of hospitality, the intent to help customers feel comfortable with the company's product, knowing there is ongoing support and contact available.
  • The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement — with approximately 97 million volunteers worldwide, started to protect human life and health and to ensure respect for human life all over the world.
  • Paul Newman — When he began his company later in his life, he made a commitment to have all profits and royalties after taxes go for educational and charitable purposes.
  • Positive Parenting — By inviting people into our homes for conversation and coffee is a very small act that shows hospitality to children. On a grander scale, inviting guests (and that includes strangers) into our home so we can share a meal with them, teaches our children the importance of hospitality and generosity.

Methods for Achieving Hospitality

  • Embrace Differences — Rather than find fault and fear differences in people, learn to appreciate and value those differences as opportunities to learn and expand horizons.
  • Develop Empathy — By putting yourself in the position of someone else, you will want to be more compassionate and considerate.
  • Practice Respect — Our fundamental right is to be respected. Learn to treat others with dignity, whether you agree with their point of view or whether you like them or not.
  • Become a Good Listener — Learn to become more interested than interesting. Work on improving your communication skills.
  • Cultivate Kindness — Engage your heart in dealing with others. If your heart is in engaged, you will find people remembering your kindness and concern.

Golden Mean

Unfriendliness, Aloofness, Inhospitality
Obtrusiveness, importunity

Quotes for Hospitality

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. 'Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night's lodging. 'Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -
When a man dies he clutches in his hands only that which he has given away during his lifetime.
- Jean-Paul Sartre -
Hospitality should have no other nature than love.
- Henrietta Mears -
Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.
- Barbara Bush -

Recommended Reading

Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way Of Love — by Daniel O.S.B. Homan

Filled with unexpected tales of real people, this is a book of love and care for our fellow man. It is very uplifting and filled with the concept of love and hospitality.

A Companion Guide to Radical Hospitality — by Robert Gibson

This book is specially designed to help readers maximize the experiential learning provided in Daniel Homan's Book.

Making Room: Recovering Hospitality As a Christian Tradition — by by Christine D. Pohl

Christine Pohl takes a more historic approach in this book, with a historic picture of the role the church used to play in the community, especially with regard to people in need. It is a bit 'meaty' and may require more than one read through, but it is well-written and it will motivate you to act toward your fellow-man.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Hospitality should have no other nature than love. Henrietta Mears