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Mind

Heart

Nurturing Sibling Unity: When It's Hard


Topics:

Parenting


I remember the first time they met like it was yesterday.  It was picture perfect and so adorable. They were wearing matching “Big Bro” and “Lil Sis” hats when my sister brought my two year old to the hospital.  

It was the most exciting day of his life to that point. We brought his new sister home and she could do no wrong in his eyes, “Isn’t she sooo cute, MomE?” he would say.  He was made to be a big brother, I just knew it. So, he just loved every minute. And she just thought he was amazing and hilarious from day one.

So, they lived in almost perfect harmony for at least two years.  Then...her individual will power became apparent and so began their true sibling relationship which consists of so much love and also lots of negative emotions that only come when you truly love someone.

"I KNOW I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT'S PRIVILEGED WITH THE DIFFICULT TASK OF PARENTING THE BEST OF FRIENDS WHO OFTEN TAKE ON THE ROLES OF WORST ENEMIES."

Can you relate? I know at least my mother can identify.  There were five of us, and as you can imagine we were in discord as often as we played in peace.  I remember being a kid and rolling my eyes as my mom repeated for the ump-teenth time in her passionate and high-pitched voice only used to communicate scriptural truth to her children. It was a special voice she reserved for that specific communication. “O, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity, for there the Lord commands His blessing” (Psalm 133).  

Fast forward multiple decades, and here I am as the parent of multiple children in discord, at times. I’ve always known the kind of relationship I want to help them foster -- the kind that I have with my siblings. I want them to be close. I want them to be there for each other. I want them to protect each other. I want them to hold each other accountable. I want them to forgive each other. I want them to pray for each other. I want them to advise each other well. I want them to influence each other positively. I want them to value each other.

It was a natural turn of events, I suppose, that during one of their first disagreements, out came  my new found voice only used to communicate biblical truth to my children -- that I imagine one day will annoy them, repeated from memory, “O, how good and pleasant it is....”

When I catch my children getting along, I try to remember to reinforce them by saying the first part of the Scripture in addition to something like this “so, God’s going to bless you today!”  When they are disagreeing, I interrupt with starting the Scripture and having them finish it. 

Now, we’ve had a third child and the dynamics keeping getting more complicated.  We are seriously considering a fourth. So, in addition to praying for my children’s relationships, I will continue to use God’s Word to help them foster the kind of relationship that pleases God and will bless them in their future -- not looking past any type of minor disagreement as an opportunity to shine light on these truths.  

I also ask God to remind me to use this verse in my relationships, with my siblings and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Every lesson in parenting is a lesson for parents -- but that’s a whole other blog...

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You for these children that You’ve given me for such a time as this.  Thank You that I have the task of reflecting You in my parenting and helping my children to understand what is pleasing to You and what things will help them to live their best life on this earth.  I pray, Lord, that You will help me to foster this type of relationship between my children. I pray that through me Your Word will saturate their hearts permanently. Lord, help them to live in harmony so that they will have each other as confidants in the future.  Lord, remind me and help me also to dwell in unity with my brothers and sisters in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.



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Erin Wang holds a Masters of Social Work from University of Pennsylvania and has worked as a case manager and counselor on the child study team for children with disabilities in the New Jersey Public School System for 8 years, prior to moving to San Diego, California. Erin is the wife of an active duty Navy surgeon and will be moving stations to Okinawa, Japan along with their 3 children in the summer of 2019. Erin has played an active role in the mom and family ministry at their home church in San Diego.


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