Post by Alysun, as written by Grace K.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
When spending time with my girls, one of the comments I hear the most is, "Wow! They actually enjoy being together!" And they do. But let me get this straight right now; THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT!!!
A loving family is one of God's greatest gifts to us. I believe that it is being viciously attacked by our enemy. It is vitally important that we pray for a wise a discerning heart in all areas of life, but especially as we seek to raise our children. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". If we continue to think, act and plan the way things "are always done," how can we expect to get any different results from the world around us? Divorce, rebellion, and estranged relationships are rampant. What kind of lives are we setting our children up to live?
How do we teach our children to love each other? Little by little by little by little, every day of each one's life. Once again, keep careful watch for the "normal" issues that "all children" go through. Remember, all children are selfish. But that doesn't mean we cater to their selfishness! It means we are careful to train it out of them.
"Normal" issues include things like "The new baby is born so naturally the older sibling is going to go through a rough time", "I have to make sure my kids have time to themselves away from their siblings", "My children will need their own individual friends so they don't feel smothered by their siblings". This way of thinking is a sure recipe for the classic, "My siblings drive me crazy! Why can't they leave me alone! I'm always stuck with them!". But isn't that normal? Absolutely! Do I want normal? NO THANK YOU!!!
Our children don't come to us spiritually neutral. They have a sin nature as real as you and me. And while we don't look at violence, lying and stealing and say, "It's very normal and understandable", why would I say that about a selfish attitude towards their siblings. So what do we teach them?
I enforce a different attitude by telling my girls these things multiple times every single day: "Oh Ella, look at your big sister taking such good care of you!", "Havilah, have your sweet sister help you with your shoes.", "Remember to tell your wonderful sister thank you and give her a big love!", "Look how Ella is smiling at you! She loves you sooooo much!", "Isn't it so wonderful that God gave you sisters to play with?", "Our girls are our most precious treasures!", "Sisters are the best buddies in the whole world!", "Won't it be fun when Ella gets bigger and you can all play together?", "Aren't you so glad you get to sleep with your sister?" And they always respond with a resounding "YES!!!!" And they mean it! I just went and asked my three older girls who are sitting the couch together, "Do you girls love each other?", and they all yelled "Yes!!!!!". "How much?" I asked. Lydia said, "As big as our house" while Bethany and Havilah gave each other a huge hug.
This is not fake. They really do adore each other. Every single one. But we live a very real life. They do fight. They do seek their own pleasures rather than thinking of each other. But we strive to take each situation and not only address the wrong actions, but the selfish heart that is behind it. The Bible tells us to love one another, over and over and over. It is one of the most important things I am to teach my children. And the blessings that come from it are limitless.
Don't let the world tell you what is "normal". God is good and His ways are good! When we strive to do things His way, we will have bumpy days. We will feel incredibly discouraged at times. We will realize that we have a real enemy. But we will also experience amazing blessings! Blessings that will make us wonder why we would ever want to do things the way the world tells us to! Blessings that will make us marvel even more at how good our God is!