“Society”: you, me, us, all

When we speak of “society” it can seem like something that does not have anything to do with us. We happily use the term society to refer to the number of problems that exist in it, but we are not aware that society is us. Society can only improve if everyone puts in their two-penny worth. Because society means everyone, including you!

For this reason, when the Home Renaissance Foundation affirms that society can collapse without well-managed homes, we observe that nobody is surprised, nobody screams, no one tears their clothes as though bemoaning a great loss. A dysfunctional society is a society that does not advance or grow, and we understand that nobody wants that, but it does not penetrate the heart or thoughts of many because the concept of “society” becomes more remote with the passing of each day.

It may be that another reason why we no longer give value to the idea of “society” is the lack of feeling of belonging. We do not belong to the “society”, we belong to the school football club, the neighbourhood association, the tennis club, the local gym. We feel part of groups or communities where we have a degree of influence, either because we pay a subscription, or because we feel we belong there and that our opinion matters.

And of course, you may say that apart from the taxes we pay in exchange for basic services, why should we feel part of a “society” where our opinion doesn’t appear to matter and authorities never consult us when making decisions? Who asks me what I think before introducing or abolishing laws?  We may feel so far removed from the management and governance of that “society” that we distance ourselves from the idea of society as a whole.

But like everything in life, nothing can be understood or seen in its true perspective if we cannot visualise it in a particular way. And to recover the meaning of “society”, we should take as an example that small and close “society” that we have in our immediate environment, the one in which our opinions matter, where we feel part of, that takes our feelings and opinions into account … namely, the home. Our family is a microcosm of society. And we feel that we belong there because of the unity that exists between members of our home. Each action we take has a consequence, which is normally direct and immediate.

At HRF we examine the home in-depth from many different angles, as a reflecting mirror for society. When households do not function well, the knock-on effect is immediate and direct on society.  We should therefore first and foremost take great care of the home as the microcosm of society.

Creating Home Away from Home: Home Renaissance Foundation at the Ritz London

On Saturday September 28th 2013, the HRF Research Coordinator and Research Intern were invited to dinner at The Ritz London, a long-time favorite of Royalty, aristocracy and celebrities, to learn more about their Happy Families accommodation programme. It is encouraging that the hotel that for over a century has been the benchmark by which other hotels are measured also claims to be “the most family-oriented of London’s luxury hotels”. The key to the Ritz’s approach is an emphasis on facilitating a family atmosphere by creating a congenial and welcoming environment, where service to the person is given utmost priority.  TheRitzarticle-1

The Ritz claims to design its guest services in a manner that allows families to create moments that will be remembered for a lifetime, rather than merely providing a distraction for children when travelling away from home. This emphasis on facilitating family interactions and traditions is of great interest to the Home Renaissance Foundation.

But how, in particular, does the Ritz London create home away from home? First and foremost, the hotel is a plaTheRitzarticle-2ce where no detail is overlooked; even before you have entered the building, you feel the staff treat people with warmth and familiarity. One of the best features for families are the interconnecting rooms for parents and children, creating a social space that facilitates family interactions. Children can also enjoy the selection of age-appropriate children’s books and DVDs in-room, as well as an assortment of bathroom amenities that youngsters are sure to love

These efforts to live excellence in the home – even away from home- show us that training and precision go into creating excellent home atmosphere, and that hospitality and domestic work are not merely a collection of services such as laundry, cleaning, and cooking. They are truly a value system in which science, art, psychology, culture, skills and an aptitude for management all play a crucial part.

Have you ever been somewhere far away that felt just like home? What made you feel this way? Was it the food? The sheets? Or the flowers in the bathroom? Share your thoughts with us, and let us know where we can find a special home away from home!