|Emma and Sara, 15 and 3|
It is, unfortunately, apparently a fact of life that familiarity breeds something very close to contempt. This is true even for those of our blood, it seems; sometimes, when we've all been cooped up together for awhile, my siblings and I begin to jump at each other's throats for what, on a normal day, might seem something completely ridiculous. It seems that as soon as one person goes off, it simply becomes worse, spiraling downwards into a cycle of shouting matches, lost toys, and increasingly bad attitudes.
So what can we, as older and younger sisters, do to stop this cycle?
be kind to one another
Make an effort to be kind over the next few weeks. Think about what you say before you say it. Go out of your way to do something for a sibling. Sometimes, a simple smile or an offered hand to help is all it takes to bring a smile to somebody's face.
|Emma, Cora, and Edward--at the time, 14, 12, and 1|
in other words, be compassionate. I'm an older sister to seven little ones, ranging in age from fifteen (okay, maybe not quite that little), to barely two. We've got one more on the way too, and we all live in a very small house. It can be hard sometimes, for me especially, to take the concerns and needs of my siblings seriously. "I don't need that," I think, "why do they?" "I never had that, why should they?" It's a bad habit, but trust me...I know. And I'm working on it.
Be compassionate to the needs and requests of your siblings. Sometimes, we can forget that the younger ones especially need a lot more than we do. Our tendency can be to ignore that in search of our own good. Don't. Be tenderhearted. Think of your words, of how they might be seen on the other end, and take compassion upon your siblings by sometimes simply swallowing those words.
|Sara and Edward, 4 and 2|
forgiving one another
it can be easy to hold a grudge. It can be easy to go through life, not quite forgiving some past slight--maybe we say we've forgiven it, but we haven't. If unchecked, a lack of forgiveness will hurt relationships beyond repair. We can no longer look at a person without seeing all the little things that we've not quite let go of. Understandably, if you're living in a house with someone, rubbing elbows with them every day, all day, this can get to the point where life becomes a never-ending source of annoyance and anger.
So don't let it get that way. Forgive and forget, as the saying goes--and mean it. Let those things go. If it helps, write them down on slips of paper and throw them away, preferably somewhere where you can't just go get them out. If it helps, drive all the way across town to toss your grievances into a dumpster that will be emptied within five minutes to be taken to a landfill fifty miles away. Because in your house, under your nose day after day, it won't help you and your siblings.
|myself (Kyla) and Emma, at ages 4 and 2, or thereabouts|
even as God in Christ forgave you.
amidst all of this, let's not forget the most important element in any relationship, the one thing that will decide whether we fail or succeed. Without Christ, nothing can be accomplished. So remember Him. When it feels as if anger will overwhelm you, when you find yourself failing to be compassionate and tenderhearted, when it seems that you just can't let go of something, no matter how hard you try--pray to Him. Seek His face. Persistently run after Him and His will, putting behind you the things that you know to be wrong. And with His help, we will become more than conquerors.