What is the Vision you have for your family?
Do you envision having a close knit family; where your daughters are there for each other, taking care of each other after they have a baby, or watching one another’s children for date nights, etc… What about your sons, could they maybe work together? Or will they want to get there families together because they actually like each other and it is not just something they have to do for the holidays?
Those visions of close, respected relationships between siblings don’t happen without parents envisioning it when they are young and purposefully parenting their children to get there. I don’t believe there is any one thing a parent can do to create these outcomes, but I guarantee it won’t happen without vision.
A “Competitive Spirit” is a key problem for families who want to create a unity like I just described. The negative impacts of allowing competition between siblings last years, sometimes it paralyzes any opportunity for a healthy relationship. This is an issue worth tackling. This is a battle worth fighting!
As one of my children was struggling at the piano, I heard,
“Mom, I can’t get the Ab Major Scale “cheese bread” with flats! I need help.”
This posed a problem for me, because my son has surpassed my piano skills this past month, and I did not understand the theory aspects of “cheese bread.” While I could normally count on Kelsey to help out once and a while, she was at art school that day. As I sat there trying to figure it out, fumbling like crazy, my seven year old daughter came up and said, “I can help you with that mom.” She was not trying to show off or put her brother down, she was just trying to be a “team” and help, because she saw I couldn’t figure it out and she already had it nailed. This did not make my son happy, in fact… it triggered all kinds of emotions. I am very proud of my son, as any of us are as mothers. He is a very considerate, polite, smart, joyful, helpful, responsible, wise child. But in that moment, having his little sister be able to do something he could not was way too much for him. We have all had moments like this. I know I have.
After convincing him I needed her help, he let her show us, but with a very prideful and stubborn heart. I looked at my son, whom I love and was willing to see his sin for what it was… he had pride. After talking with him for a long time, one thing that bothered him immensly was that he didn’t want to have his younger sister teaching him something. It was lowering his self-esteem that a girl who happened to be younger had grasped one tiny concept of the piano before he had and he didn’t not want her to “teach” him. This spirit of competition was accompanied by the spirit of pride. Those two spirits together create an attitude that opposes the “team vision of our family.”
After recognizing this sin, as a mom, I saw my responsibility to call out the sin in my son’s heart. It was hard, time consuming, but also required for correction and being refined. As I shared the goings on of the day with my husband. I came to this particular instance, and Isaac encouraged me to share it with you here. WE have many of these kinds of conversations throughout our days. I am in the mess of my kids sin and my sin all day, every day, but it is good. I know them and love them, they know me and love me. The conversation bonded my son and I closer in a way that can’t be done any other way. It is worth taking the time (even if it takes 45 minutes for one instance).
I shared with him how much I loved him, how much I want all of God’s best blessings for him in his life. Him understanding that I had his best interest in my mind and on my heart, was critical for him to not be defensive. I explained to him, that sometimes God allows us to go through tough times, trials, pains, which are really growth opportunities in disguise. Explaining to him the concept of being a team and not in competition with one another. I shared vision with him, what we want for our children as adult siblings… being there for one another. Friends come and go in life, but family is there forever. It is easy to be nice to friends, but being nice and recieving help from your siblings and family… that is the testing of our character. I taught him about how God has gifted him with sisters, who have different gifts and talents.
We are a team, like a small version of the Body of Christ with different giftings, purposefully created that way so we can glorify God and work as a team. We are to work together, not against each other like opposite teams.
I also shared with him that when God created Adam, he saw that it was not good for him to be alone so he created a wife fit for him, a helper. I shared with him how blessed he is that he gets to grow up with women, sisters, that he can learn to take their “influence” and utilize their gifts. I told him, “I recognize God didn’t make you to take orders from a woman. This is something that will become a greater struggle for you as you get older, and that I realize this. However, you do need to deal with this pride in your heart. When men who were once boys, grow up struggling with the spirit of pride in the hearts, they grow up to be men who have a deeper root of pride and it can devastatingly destroy relationships, marriages, and families. I don’t want that for you. I love you. God gave you sisters and a mother so you can learn how to have a healthy relationship with women. You are so blessed. This is boot camp for learning how to accept and utilize the gifts and wisdom of your wife one day.”
Yes he is only eight, but if we as parents don’t start teaching these things when they are young, and don’t develop the type of relationship where you are the PRONOUNCED EARTHLY COUNSELOR, in a healthy way, then how can we expect them to listen to us when they are older.
Purposeful Parenting takes time.
In those moments when it is easy to just send a kid to a corner or to their room “to think about it,” we need to realize we need to teach them what to think about. That part is the part that can take time and we need to be patient to let God do that transforming work in their heart. Just as it is hard for us to hear a truth about sin in our own lives and may take us days or months even to truly deal with it, it could take a child that long as well. As parents we need to take the time to stop what we are doing, get down to their level and talk it out. Get to know what sin is harboring in our child’s heart. What attitudes they are developing… we parents are responsible for our child’s training and correction.
The wisdom you have learned over the years from “experiencing life” should not be wasted… share stories, read scripture, learn from the examples of men and women gone before, share all of that wisdom with your children, so that they can stand on your shoulders. Great Leaders recognize that their pupils will one day surpass them, and that they should. Standing on the shoulders of great teaching to attain greater understanding. Purposeful Parents should seek good leadership skills to lead their children with. If they want their children to lead well, they have to teach them how. If you want your children to be wise in who they choose to follow, you need to teach them how.