Keepers of The Home
I must admit that, when I first became a parent, I had all the energy in the world to follow through with wisdom and consequences while I gave parenting my best shot. I remember reading all of the books I could get my hands on in the early years, just drinking up knowledge from others that had gone before me. Now, having nine children in the house under the age of twelve, I find myself picking my battles a little bit more carefully and growing weary in the fight. I tend to put a lot of my energy into training the younger children that need a good foundation, whereas my older children should already have that foundation established, or so I think.
The scriptures teach us that a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17) The word “adversity” implies ongoing trouble and difficulties. I have found this to be true among my older children, as the same ones always seem to butt heads. I have taken many a moment out of my very busy day to patiently instruct them on what is right, fair, and good treatment of others, only to watch them have their flesh take control of the situation. We have a “won’t budge and show mercy” child which constantly clashes with our “always showing mercy and grace” child. It has really left me scratching my head and praying to God for wisdom in the matter.
I am beginning to see that if these bad behaviors do not get nipped in the bud now, they will be a hindrance in their relationship with one another for the rest of their lives. The truth is, our home is just the beginning of the iceberg for our children and the difficult relationships they will undoubtedly find themselves in during their lifetime. Their future coworkers, spouse, and in laws will all undoubtedly try them just the same. With this in mind, I have become more prone to looking at their fights as a way to equip them for all future encounters they may have with people in their lives.
I pray specifically over each of my children so that they can hear, by my example, how they should humble themselves and pray, seeking the Lord's wisdom and grace in their relationships. I now focus on teaching our child that tends to let others step all over him to never give up on showing grace and forgiveness but to also set healthy boundaries and follow through with consequences when they are violated. On the other hand, I teach our child that tends to be merciless to show mercy more often than not and remind him that he will always be in need of receiving grace from others and will appreciate it when others demonstrate it. This is the same child with whom I am deliberate in sharing the parable in Matthew 18 about the unmerciful servant.
Unfortunately, I have no magic pill to offer you here today for a solution to sibling fighting. My only real advice to you, as well as myself, is this: do not grow weary in doing good and continue to seek the Lord for wisdom on how to parent your children well and lead them in paths of righteousness. May the Lord be with you as you endeavor to be a good steward of the heritage of the children He has blessed you with, and may they learn to call upon His name themselves and grow more and more in His likeness each day!