Do you ever have days (or whole weeks, even years) when you wonder if your children will ever truly be friends? With each other?
Will the bickering, arguing, fairness issues, offensive nature and general annoyances toward one another ever end?
I wonder. All. The. Time. Truth be told, I worry about it more than I’d like to admit. In a house filled with boys, we battle these issues regularly. But, I know from other moms I’ve talked to, that this can happen with all boys, all girls or a mix of both. Where two or more siblings are gathered, there’s bound to be some rivalry.
As a homeschooling family with four boys, our school work involves just as much, if not more character training in brotherly kindness than anything else. Because we spend so much time together at home, there are a plethora of training opportunities waiting around every corner. And I mean EVERY corner. Most days I am baffled by the amount of ongoing tit for tat and, what feels like, never-ending rights violations amongst our crew. You might be thinking that I am strictly talking about my sons. No, this would include me too.
God has a way of showing His children the parallels between our relationship with Him and ours with our own children. Often, my eyes are opened to this when I am busy complaining and feeling defeated by all the ways that I cannot control my boys.
Can you relate?
He knows where I am weak. And if I am willing to pour out to God, to offer Him my weaknesses and frustrations, He is always faithful to help me live beyond myself. He can do that for all of us.
But, too often I’ve held on to my rights and all the ways that I felt they’ve been violated within a given day . . . and I keep a tight grip on my justifications for being frustrated and feeling defeated by my inability to make my children be kind to
one another. Being a homeschooling mom can be wearying, exhausting…but our God
sees me. He sees you. He knows how difficult the heart issues of raising and educating our children can be. And that is why He’s waiting for us to pour out,
to empty ourselves of all the striving and battling we do on our own…without
I’m convinced that the most important work we, as moms, can and should be doing for our children, is done on our knees. Our God wants to fill those deep places within us with His Truth. If we can begin to name those weaknesses within us, those areas that keep us feeling defeated in our homeschooling and parenting, that’s when God can do some real work in our own hearts and in the hearts of our children.
It feels like an absolute miracle to me when we have a day at home that just…works. I questioned it for the longest time. I wondered, what’s different? Why was there peace today, but not yesterday? I want to know what I did differently so I can emulate it tomorrow. And that’s when I realize . . . it wasn’t the way I organized our workboxes differently that day or the cool science experiments we did. It wasn’t that we read more or read less or tapped into some of our fun “back pocket” learningactivities.
All of these resources are great, but by themselves, they weren’t the answer. It was my heart that God had changed. He has shown me the hardness of my own heart toward difficulty and is slowly showing me with heavy doses of grace and mercy, the value in perseverance while abiding in Him. Without first submitting to God, praying specifically and asking Him to show the way . . . it will be a continued futile and hopeless battle to help our children learn how to love one another.
The long hours spent at home, teaching our children will bear fruit. I believe that these years at home will always supply us with ample opportunities in dealing with sibling rivalry. But the more time we spend together learning in the everyday moments of our homeschooling days, how to love one another, the more I see changed hearts. Often, those moments are experienced when we take what we’ve learned at home and apply it out in the world and I think, “Ah, there’s the fruit! They can show kindness toward one another.”
There are so many excellent resources out there on Godly character training, but the first thing we need is something all of us already have . . . weaknesses! Our weaknesses and neediness for help in training up our children is exactly where God will do His greatest work.
So, our weaknesses actually ARE our greatest strengths and the beginning of the miraculous Godly heart training that we can pass on to our children.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
So, what is God’s prescription for sibling rivalry? It’s the same healing medicine we need for every other area of our lives and we can pass that prescription on to our children so that they, too, will love God and love others. PRAYER, that’s the answer.
Megan and her amazing husband, along with their four young sons live in Washington. She is a homeschooling mom after the heart of Jesus and wanting to make Him famous to her boys each and every day. As often as possible, Megan and her boys spend their time away from the table learning with a very hands-on approach. They love unit studies, science experiments, great books and especially the outdoors. One of her sons was born with a significant hearing loss, so her family is bilingual, with American Sign Language as their second language. Megan enjoys reading, creating unit studies, is passionate about her faith in God, loves taking pictures of her family playing together outside and even revels in getting messy with her boys. She writes about all this and more at House of the Rising Sons.