Welcome to our new blog! To start off, I thought I would post about a topic that weighs heavily on my heart as the oldest of six. I'm going to share some practical advice for maintaining a godly relationship between an older daughter and her siblings.
The relationship between siblings is, from the world's viewpoint, mocked and looked upon as a nuisance. Rivalry is considered normal, even for Christians. Is it not true that Christians should follow Jesus' example and show love and compassion for fellow man? Is not one's family more important than common man? It is quite crucial to consider the way Christians are represented in this corrupted world. If you are bickering with your siblings, you are showing those that are lost that Christians are no different from them. Why should they want what you have?
- First of all, to be a godly influence on my siblings, I need to be sure that my heart is right with the Lord. Prayer and the reading of Scripture are required if you want to become a virtuous woman in any regard.
- Take joy in caring for your siblings! I have found that caring for my young siblings is a wonderful training experience for future parenthood! In these years of preparation to be a wife and mother, I can have lots of experience with my siblings regardless of how old they are. It's true with so many years difference between my baby brother and me, I have been able to do nearly everything a mother would do for him including putting him to sleep, changing him, bathing him, and even staying up with him in the middle of the night. These things have been a wonderful learning experience for me as well as a tremendous help to my mother! Even with siblings closer to me in age, I learn patience, selflessness and the self-discipline that it takes to be a parent. I love being able to experience firsthand how the minds of children work and I can observe and learn from my mother how to rear them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
- I have learned that one of the most important ways to get along with my siblings and virtually all others around me is to remember to always treat them with kindness and compassion. A little respect goes a long way with siblings, especially those who are closest to you in age. They may be the hardest to get along with. The golden rule applies here: Treat others as you wish to be treated.
- Another thing that is crucial in building godly sibling relationships involves one little word, time. A very wise lady once told me, "Children spell love, T-I-M-E." There is nothing my little sisters love more from me than spending time playing their games, reading to them or teaching them a new skill. Though it's often a hard investment to make, the Lord blesses my efforts greatly! Sometimes I employ them in a very productive activity by making it into a game! They LOVE it when I play "restaurant" while fixing lunch. Sometimes I'm an Italian chef, sometimes a baker, sometimes a waitress at "Flibby's Sandwich Bistro." They also love to play things like "airplane" when I play the pilot, the stewardess, and a passenger all in one. Or, I simply come in and play a brief part in their game. A little goes a long way. They love it when I read to them, direct a play that they star in, or just play their favorite song for them on the piano while they sing.
- It's important to build your siblings up instead of always treating them in a condescending way. While, occasionally I must gently reprimand them, I never discipline or play the part of their mother. They should be loved and built up by their older sister, not constantly scolded or threatened.
- One of the more important things I've learned is that a great encouragement to younger siblings is to always model Biblical, feminine behavior. They are constantly around me so I have to be aware of the innocent little eyes that are watching me and looking up to me for an example. This is a sobering thought which I'm sure is greatly intensified when you become a parent yourself. I always need to be respectful and obedient to my parents, industrious, ladylike, and gentle in speech. Also, I should model patience, kindness, and be sure to encourage them to read Scripture and pray everyday by doing the same. Modeling my biblical calling as a woman is highly beneficial for my younger sisters because they get to see, firsthand, the kind of woman God wants them to become. They see me practicing my home-making skills and want to do the same. They walk with feminine grace. They prefer dresses to pants. This is also beneficial for my younger brothers because it encourages them to behave in a chivalrous fashion and to seek to use their time wisely- to pursue manly ambitions. It's easier to be a gentleman, when you are under a lady's influence. I always try my best to encourage them when they act in this manner. It's very important to encourage your siblings when you see them doing right and pleasing the Lord in their actions and thoughts.
- To be a godly sister, it's essential to practice selflessness and patience. These are necessary character traits for every Christian and require lots of prayer and help from the Lord to master. If you can master these, becoming a godly sister will come easily.
- Show genuine care for your siblings and their relationship with God. Your siblings are able to tell if you genuinely care for them and their well-being.
- Also, always remember to think on things which are pure:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8When you have these things on your mind, it's easier to display them in your conduct. Be careful what you read, watch, and say. Little children remember these things.
- Pray for your siblings! This is very important. When praying for yourself and asking the Lord to cultivate a godly character in you, do the same for your siblings. Pray for faults you may notice, pray that God will give them a vision for the future, pray that the Lord will keep them safe in the hollow of His hand, and most importantly, pray that the Lord will save their souls and that they would serve Him all the days of their lives.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter! Please leave a comment below!