Schooooooools out for summer!!!!!!
I can’t help but have the rock and roll anthem play in my head as I navigate the last few weeks before we dive into all things summer! Endless hours in the sun, catching lightening bugs, spur of the moment ice cream runs, and cook outs in the back yard! Summer is one of the most exciting and fun parts of the year for our family. It brings a reprieve from the relentless everyday grind and more time to spend with each other. But do you know what it also brings? Constant sibling conflict!
With lots of extra time to spend together as a family, also comes lots of together time for my son and daughter that often results in screaming, bickering and lots of conflict. Nothing pierces the air more than my daughter screaming “stop” at the top of her lungs or my son’s constant drum of “she’s not playing fair”.
In anticipation of this onslaught, I decided to make a change!
There is nothing I can do about the amount of time that they would spend together or but I could research ways to reduce sibling conflict and increase the peace. I don’t have any real goals of making it disappear altogether. I think that’s probably too lofty a goal, but I do want to get through the summer without pulling all my hair out. So I dove into subject of sibling conflict and surfaced with the some knowledge I couldn’t wait to share!
Though sibling conflict can occur more often in the summer this gem of information can be used at any time or any season of the year. Even right in the middle of your busy!
In help reduce sibling conflict and increase love among our children we can dive deep with them into a biblical example of sibling conflict and help them understand that sin has no sliding scale.
Sin Has No Sliding Scale: Parable of the Lost Son
Most of us know the parable of the lost son. A wealthy father has two sons. One son asks for his inheritance early and goes off to spend it all very unwisely. After near starvation and in a state of destitution the son returns to his father. Upon seeing that his lost son has returned the Father prepares a feast and celebration. The father’s other son, who had not left and not spent his inheritance unwisely, is furious and reproaches the father for celebrating a child who betrayed him. The Father then warmly explains that everything he has is for the son who did not leave but it was fitting to celebrate the son that was lost.
Most of the time we read this parable and focus on the lost son and the hard lessons he learned. But if we want to reduce sibling conflict we actually need to take a closer look at the father in this story and his solution to the conflict between his sons.
When we examine the parable closely we can see that these two young men are outwardly very different from one another. One of them makes wise choices in their life, the other does not. In today’s society we would say that one son made his parent proud, the other would likely be the center of gossip. It’s really easy to understand why the son who made wise choices becomes infuriated when his rule breaking brother is celebrated. Breaking the rules is bad and it should not be celebrated.
But what does the father in this story see that his son’s do not? He sees that though his sons are outwardly very different, inwardly they are the same. Sinful. His wayward son is sinful for his disobedience and wrong choices. His other son is sinful in his pride in his right choices and jealousy over his brother’s celebration.
He helps his son to understand that sin has no sliding scale. Not one sin is better or worse than the other. The weight of all sin is death. Being with prostitutes is no worse than pride. Our morality really wants to tell us that that’s not true. But scripture states that all have fallen short of the glory of God.
In order to reduce sibling conflict we must help our children move away from a morality point of view. Screaming at your sister for cheating is just as sinful as cheating itself. Pushing your brother because he wouldn’t obey the rules is just as bad as not obeying the rules. Sin is sin. And Jesus died for it all. We must show each other the love of Christ because not one of us is better than the other.
In the middle of the busy, its really hard to not default to the idea that one sin is worse than the other. But if we really want to decrease sibling conflict we must help them and ourselves remember that sin has no sliding scale. Just like the father in the parable of the lost son we must be able to look past the outward appearance and see the heart within. We are all sinful, christ died for it all and we must show love to others because we desperately need that love as well.
Blaze a new trail and parent well in the middle of busy!