We all love our parents.
But growing up in our home there was always this "secret battle" shall we say over who was the favorite.
And of course with three dramatic girls, we all thought someone else was...and it hurt really bad.
Me and my sisters are all very far apart in age. My oldest sister is 7 years older and I'm the middle, and my younger sister is 8 years younger. We have really good genes from both our parents so just looking at us you would never know the huge age gap. But it is there, and I also feel it played a huge role in our relationships.
It's one reason why I have always wanted to have children close together. I have always wanted to instill a deep love for the siblings, and I have always tried to instill the fact that there are NO favorites. In fact we didn't even know we were going to have a third for awhile so Mark was our baby for 3 years, and Big sister Julia was the nurturing mama, who protected her brother and helped me care for him.
But sometimes as much as the parents SAY, "I love you all the same," or "I have no favorites." We all know that actions speak louder than words. When parents are very strict with certain children and then totally loosen the reigns on another, you tend to feel like, hmmmm she is the favorite. Or when one child gets in trouble more, that child is going to feel like the others are the favorite. Or when one child is not paid attention to at all because he or she doesn't cause any drama, that child just feels like they don't matter at all.
At BSF, my Wednesday Bible study, we are going through the book of Genesis. We are reading Genesis 25-28 right now and learning all about Isaac and Rebekah and their twin sons Jacob and Esau. Isaac's favorite was Esau because he was an outdoorsy guys guy who hunted wild game and Jacob was a mama's boy and undoubtedly Rebekah's favorite because he hung around the house more. This favoritism split the family in two. It divided the family and caused some really heart ache.
I think that's one of the reason why as couples we really need to hold each other accountable. There are times when I will discipline Julia for something, that I would let slide with Mark and John will tell me later that he didn't feel that was fair. Sometimes I have had to say the same thing to John. With the older child it is sometimes easier to discipline because we feel, "oh they should KNOW better," and we skip the discipline on the youngest because "they are cute," and that is not fair! Now I know life is not always fair, but in our homes we need to be CAREFUL to be objective in our disciplining. And we need to be consistent and we need to constantly catch our children being GOOD.
We need to constantly tell them we love them and tell them we are proud of them. I did not hear these words very much (although I know them to be true now) and I so desperately needed to hear them. We also need to SHOW our children we love them. That means picking them up ON TIME. Making a big deal out of special occasions. Bragging about them in front of them to our friends and family. These are some things that we really make sure we do.
One conversation we all need to have in our families is that favoritism is not acceptable. We as couples need to keep communication lines open and be honest with each other. I think if Isaac and Rebekah had done that the fate of Jacob and Esau and the whole birthright drama would have been a different situation.
Let's teach our children while they are young to value each other.