Living as a family is not always easy, in fact it is the one institution that you will have to die to your selfishness the most, well other than your relationship with Christ.
The second greatest commandment is that we LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR! Our closest neighbors are the ones that live under the same roof as we do. When we are at home we tend to let our guard down, along with our courtesy to each other.
Most of us have been brought up spending more time with our friends than we have our siblings and parents because of the school system and jobs. Most people put on their ‘best face’ for the public, but let their real selves show at home, thinking that they do not have to WORK on those relationships, especially once they reach the teen years. Think of the years that were spent on the phone and just hanging out with friends when we were young. I’ll bet it greatly outweighs the time spent with family.
I love my friends, I enjoy being with them. I enjoy their perspective, encouragement and admonition, but my family is where my heart is. They are the ones I want to spend the bulk of my time with. Our family’s needs; physical, emotional and spiritual must come before others.
Let us be diligent to nurture family relationships, placing those earthly relationships above all else. This means that love and courtesy should be at it’s highest level when we are at home. We should overlook/forgive offenses as much as possible when we are at home. We should sacrifice our comfort and our wants, to put the wants of our parents, children, and siblings first. Not stomping around because we are important and others should do what we say. If we could all just develop a true love for each other, not saying that we will agree on everything, but live with an attitude of OTHERS FIRST, just think of the beautiful image of Christ we would portray. Our homes need to have the aroma of Christ.
If we could learn to really love our closest neighbor, who regularly gets under our skin, wouldn’t it be easier to love those neighbors that live outside our four walls?
Having strong ties between family members takes a LOT OF WORK. It takes DAILY DILIGENCE!
A few suggestions:
~Challenge each child to do a kind deed for a sibling without them knowing, and don’t take credit for it. ie… make their bed, put their clothes away, leave a sweet "I love you" note. Look for ways to be a blessing.
~Challenge each child to give one compliment (not flattery about appearance, but compliment a character trait), to every other member of the family.
~Encourage the children to overlook and forgive if something has been said or done to make them mad.
~If there is a last cookie (or whatever), encourage the child wanting it to ask everyone else if they would like it first.
~Don’t allow children to feel sorry for themselves, that fosters a victim mentality.
~Limit time with friends (limit, not neglect). Friends are the biggest pull on a child’s heart. Encourage them that their siblings are their BEST friends.
~Parents need to speak kindly of their own parents and siblings as much as possible.
Family relations are the first relationships that God gave us,
let us be diligent to nurture and protect them.
The Family is a book that our family is reading together in the evenings. It is beautifully written, and very convicting.