By and large, siblings have a rivalry with each other to see who can get the most attention. Young children compete for things like toys and compliments. As kids get older, the things they compete for become bigger. Teenage children may fight over things like friends, sports achievements, or grades. This rivalry can cause tension in the sibling dynamic and throughout your entire household. What are you doing to bring joy to your home?
Single parents can’t do it all for their kids, especially in times of hardship or crisis. They need assistance from friends, relatives, neighbors, and fellow believers who heed the call of Scripture: “Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Most of all, they need to take their needs in prayer to their loving Lord, the “helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).
Tim Kizziar once said, “Our greatest fear… should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Is there anything worse than giving something all you’ve got when, in the end, it amounts to nothing? Determining where to invest your time and energy can be tough. Be sure to limit the time you spend on things in life that don’t really matter in the end…things like the pursuit of worldly wealth, endless TV watching, or the latest gadget. Instead, invest in your family. Invest your time and energy in people. True success is living not for things, but for others.
An elephant never forgets. When they are too small to escape, we train elephants in captivity by shackling their ankles and staking them down. They try and try to tug away from their bonds; but they eventually learn they can’t get loose. That’s when their “elephant memory” takes over. For the rest of their lives they remember that they can’t get away. In the same way, when someone makes a careless or insensitive comment to a child like, “You’re not big enough to make the football team,” or “You aren’t smart enough to get into that school,” they drive a mental stake into the child’s mind that the child will never forget…which could hold them back for the rest of their lives.
Honoring your father and mother must be important if it’s listed as one of the Ten Commandments. You probably do pretty well on the commandment to not kill, but how often do you esteem your mother and father as you should? It’s not optional. And it is the greatest gift a child can give his or her parents. Our kids will learn to honor us by the way we honor our own parents.
As strange as it seems, easy living and a stress-free existence can be disadvantageous for animals and for us humans. Think about the big male lion lying in a cage at the zoo. All his needs are met, and his hunting skills are useless. His muscles turn flabby, and he yawns his way through the day. Meanwhile, the lion that’s roaming free on the plains of Africa, stalking and competing for his next meal, remains fit and strong because of the challenges and dangers he faces.
Within limits, adversity is beneficial to you and your children, too. Troubles that require comforting leave you better able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Physical suffering, when endured in the name of Christ, makes it easier for you to say no to sin (1 Peter 4:1). Hardships due to your faith lead to restoration and strength (1 Peter 5:9–10). Trials also produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3). There are many other examples of this “adversity principle” at work in Scripture.
Human beings who have survived hard times are tougher, more resilient, and more compassionate than those who have never faced difficulty or pain. You might remember that the next time your family is battling adversity in the jungle of life.
A little act of kindness goes a long way. A simple smile aimed at someone who looks sad, a simple heartfelt question of concern can do a lot to change another’s disposition. How gracious God is to us; we need to pass that along (Ephesians 4:32). Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.