By Dede Ewing
Encouraging brotherly love amongst siblings is something we parents should do often. They can learn to be there for one another during good and bad times; encouraging the other in a positive way should one of them fall into a string of bad choices and decisions. Siblings are friends who love deeply, pray for one another, help each other, laugh when the other is happy, and share tears when one is sad. Should one fall into rebellion, face an unforeseen obstacle, or need encouragement, they can help each other out - for two are better than one.
In our home, when our girls were younger, they were responsible for weekly chores. They would often argue over who had which responsibility for a particular week, but when it was one of their birthdays there was no questioning. We would have the sibling without the birthday honor the one who was celebrating a birthday by stepping up and doing, not only their chores but, the other sibling’s chores too. This helped them learn team work and to be there for one another – to love their brother or sister with their actions!
Their bond sometimes models our biblical instruction to be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly and sisterly love. We can learn a lot about our children by watching them with their siblings. My children explained that because they have been raised in the same household with each other, they have come to know each other’s greatest attributes, secrets, fears and dreams.
I remember when our oldest daughter used her creativity as an artist, her speaking gift, and her testimony to encourage other teens who were struggling with their identity. It became the topic at our dinner table, the topic at our family meetings, and began to consume her conversation. She was starting to get the big head and her other siblings had not stepped into their calling yet. They were starting to disengage from the conversations and probably got a little envious. We found one of them crying in her room and when we discussed the reason for her tears, she confessed that she felt like she didn’t have any talents. So, we had a pow-wow with all the kids on character and gifts to discourage envy, unhealthy competition, and comparison.
These things can destroy their relationship and cause strife within the family. While these are things we can work to avoid, our kids may experience them as they are human emotions and reactions. When faced with these challenges, our kids may feel alone, not understanding or knowing what to do. We must be watchful, prayerful, and counsel the child struggling with these issues. When we see a child getting puffed up or thinking that he/she is better than the other child, correction is in order for they must not think they are better than they really are.
We parents should not play one for the other to get faster pleasing results. We must all be honest in evaluating ourselves by the faith that God has given us. Our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function as it is in our families and the body of Christ. We are many parts of one body and we all belong together. In His grace, God has given each child different gifts for doing certain things well. Some the ability to prophesy and they should speak out with as much faith as God has given them. Others are called to serve and they should serve well. One child may teach well while the other is an encourager. Many siblings are generous givers and some leaders; they should take the responsibility seriously. We all are given the gift of kindness and we should share it gladly.
By accepting the different gifts in our families and amongst siblings, we encourage them to live in harmony with each other and we help them live in peace with everyone. It is a very important, life changing and rewarding act for a parent to witness this type of brotherly love.
Dede Ewing is the proud wife to her amazing husband, John. They reside in beautiful Cedar Hill, TX and share in a loving blended family of three incredible children (2 daughters and 1 son): India (21), Essences (19), John II (8), and 1 dog named Bella. She enjoys coffee anytime of the day, eyeliner with a great mascara, little league sports, travel, good food, and great fellowship.Check her out on Instagramand Facebook.