A great many people, when they speak of home, tend to associate it with a certain atmosphere, certain physical surroundings, and certain emotional attitudes within themselves. This sentimentality toward home is something that has come down to us from the past. Many modern people do not have it, and I think it is a good thing that they do not.
In the old days life was difficult. Enemies could attack you and kill or rob you, and you had little protection against them. People did not live in well-built houses where doors could be locked. They did not have the protection of an organized police force or telephones which could summon the police instantly. How did this influence the way people felt about home Small family groups clung tightly together for protection against beasts and against other men. Only the bravest went beyond the small family area. Even in the Middle Ages only the most daring went to lands beyond sea. The human pursuit of security conditioned men to love their homes. I am sure that this feeling must have been very strong among the early settlers of the United States who were obliged, by famine and oppression, to take the plunge and go to the new land where they knew no one and where they were subject to Indian attack. We can see this even today in the attitudes of minority groups who, because of a feeling of insecurity, still preserve cohesive family ties.
Today, thanks to modern transportation and well-organized societies, thousands of people willingly and eagerly leave the surroundings where they were born, and the oftener they do so, the less sentiment they are likely to have for those surroundings. I lived in England for three years, and I noticed that boys and girls left their parents' homes and lived in dwellings of their own. There they could just telephone and ask an agency to provide them with a house or an apartment, which was their home. How has the meaning of this word home been altered by such activity What does home mean to those people or to families who often move about, living in first one hotel and then another I believe that for them home means a place where they can have privacy.
This idea of home as being a place of privacy is emerging in my country, Saudi Arabia, where the young are abandoning their parents' homes to live their own life. As for me, the atmosphere and surroundings of the place where my parents live have no sentimental attachment. Home is where I can shut the door and be by myself. At the moment it is a room in Eaton Hall. When I left my parents several years ago, I was anxious to leave. You might call it unfeeling, but that was the way I felt. On the day of my departure for the United States, my grandmother sobbed and wept. My father, however, indicated that he understood how I felt. “Son,” he said, “I am not sorry that you are leaving us. I only hope that you make the most of your time.