Can you imagine if Mikaela and I had a Jacob and Esau-esque relationship? She would be hacking my blogger account, writing typo-ridden posts under my name just to sabatoge me. I’d be selling her my rights as firstborn (first billing in Christmas cards, the ability to say I’m older, and other important things like that) just to induce her to edit my own posts in a reasonable fashion. You guys would be blushing in horror.
Thankfully, our relationship has never been like those twins, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bouts of selfishness or blowups at siblings or episodes where I shake my head and wonder if we have any common ground. I’ve had those moments and episodes more often than I care to remember, but perhaps because of my own weaknesses, God has taught me much about sibling relationships.
Back in February, for our blogoversary, Shelbi asked, “I would love to hear ideas about how to connect with, spend time with and enjoy younger siblings. Especially if you have siblings who are close to your own age, but who have very different interests than you do. (As I have J.)”
seconded that. I am still unperfected in this area, but my siblings do have diverse interests that are both different from and similar to mine, so I would love to share some thoughts. Elizabeth
Before I jump into the very practical suggestions, here is a point to keep in mind. Our parents’ marriage relationship is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22-33), which is part of why the sanctity of marriage is so vital. It gives the world a living, breathing picture of Christianity.
In the same way, my relationship with my siblings is a picture of how relationships between believers should be. Romans 12:9-11 says,
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”
Ephesians 4:6 declares we believers have “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
The words “brother” and “brotherly” are used 67 times from Acts to Revelation. Christians have the same Father God, and the analogy of sibling relationships between believers is clearly seen in the New Testament. How then can we defame the name of Christ by failing to properly carry out the sibling relationships upon which this analogy is based?
My answer? I cannot!
Here are some simple, practical ideas for developing relationships with your siblings ranging from the intensely valuable to the stuff that memories are made of!
- Take a sibling on a special outing.
Go to a concert, take a sibling to a movie, go out for ice cream, go get coffee. This special outing will provide a perfect opportunity to engage in conversation about what is going on in his life—Ice Cream is the great tongue-loosener, after all!
- Have a special activity that you do with each sibling.
I teach one sibling violin, I go jogging with another; I’ve worked on duets and trios with one, and decorated rooms with another. Other ideas include reading together, or even starting a business together. The point is to have an ongoing special connection with each sibling.
- Invest spiritually in siblings.
Listen, give advice sometimes (I’m still working on toning down the advising!), encourage with a note left on a pillow, have a Bible study together, or pray together every morning.
- Do something silly, spontaneous, and memory-making!
Make a short movie together, get involved in an interest of theirs they would never expect you to be involved in, have an impromptu photo shoot, throw a surprise party for someone together, have a water fight, or just say “yes” when they ask you to play with them.
- Yield your rights, especially your right to be right.
Be careful not to over-correct them; make sure you surrender your right to your own possessions to God, because clothes-borrowing and fragile-object-breaking will occur!
- Pray for rather than worry about your siblings.
God convicted me of this recently, when I was stewing over various things going on in my siblings’ lives. Worry is supremely useless, but prayer is supremely powerful. Even if none of these activities are possible with your situation, pray for your siblings and watch God work!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.