Sibling Rivalry – Expecting Something Different
I have 3 kids: 13, 10 & 7.
Each with their own ideas, personalities and preferences.
And just like every other family in existence, those ideas, personalities and preferences often clash in our home…
…and in the car…
…and in the grocery store…
…and other inconvenient places that give insight into the reality that we do not sit around our home sharing prayer requests and singing cum-by-ya each night.
But one of the values Kyle and I fight to keep in front of our kids is the importance of their relationship with each other.
It’s easy to view the disagreements, arguments or general disdain for each other as normal. It’s easy to settle the argument and dole out a punishment in hopes of preventing future eruptions of the Great Mount Sibling. But Kyle and I want to do more than create peace for the moment. We want to take a step beyond learning to get along today. We want to set an expectation for more in the future.
Because we believe there is value in community. And our immediate family is the one, God-designed community that we have. We didn’t choose our family. No matter how your family came about… whether it’s biological, adopted, blended, etc… there was an element of God’s hand in the process of bringing you together. And there is always a purpose to God’s work.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 says,
“Two are better than one because together they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
These words remind me there is strength in numbers. That means my oldest son is stronger with his younger brother and sister than without them. It means God intentionally placed these relationships in his life to help him up when he falls, to defend him when he’s weak, to be the one to fall back on when life is tough.
When I stop to consider all the relationships in my kids’ lives, the ones that are most likely to still be around in 10, 20, 30 years are those with their brother and sister. The two people most likely to be at my youngest son’s 50th birthday party are his older brother and sister.
Not his lunch buddy.
Not his scout troop.
Not his best friend from grade school.
This truth elevates the importance of his friendship with his older brother and sister. Suddenly sibling rivalry becomes a relationally eroding factor we wish to eliminate.
We want to paint a picture of a friendship our kids can count on as they grow older. We want to set the stage for a greater story they can tell about friends that are stronger because they stuck together.