My younger brother stopped by this afternoon. He just returned last night from finalizing my father's estate. All that remained was for me and my older brother to sign a paper. So, he stopped by.
There was no name calling. We didn't fight over the pen. There was no arguing and screaming over how the money was divided. I didn't whine. He didn't yell.
We've come a long way in the past 32 years. In fact, we haven't argued in at least 15 years. Disagree? At times. But, no arguing. No fighting. No silent treatments.
I frequently try to remember what my brothers and I were like growing up and how we get along now. I remember so as not to get discouraged with the young ones in my home fighting, yelling, pinching, etc. Do I have horrible children? I don't think so. I just have children. Does this mean I should tolerate the fighting? Absolutely not. Our parents didn't. That's why we have good relationships now.
How many siblings argue and hire lawyers while dealing with the estate left behind by their parents? How many haven't talked to each other in years because one offended the other? These siblings never got over being children.
Expecting arguments and childish behavior among my children is one thing. Tolerating and ignoring it is another. They will not grow out of it on their own. It is our job (Eric's and mine) to teach them how to better handle disagreements.
Without the word of God and teaching them the fear of the Lord, this task is next to impossible.
My parents disliked hearing the arguing as much as I do. They liked peace in their home. We were taught that siblings are to love each other. Strife wasn't God's way. They disciplined us, for sure. But they also took time to reiterate what a gift from God siblings are. Eric and I try to teach our children in the same manner.
Once is a while, my husband and I are encouraged as we see our children really try to get along. It blesses our hearts when one walks away from an argument or catches themselves before saying or doing something in retaliation of a wrongdoing. We see rays of hope in moments like that.
However, most days I get to play referee. Some days, I have to intervene here and there. Other days, preventing murder and maiming is my only accomplishment.
Our children are still learning. The discipline and the lectures don't stick the first time. Or the second. Or the fiftieth. They didn't stick the first time with their parents, aunts, and uncles, either. But, we grew up.
So will they.
"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalm 119:165
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." I John 4:20-21