I wasn't able to post yesterday because I had the flu, but I'm back today, and ready to post my notes from our first workshop at the homeschool convention we recently attended.
The topic was family unity. The class was led by Ray and Donna Reish, and I thought they had some great points to make.
The first point they made, that really hit home, was that creating family unity consists of more than just daily prayer time and family nights. It means that each member of the family loves one another above all other relationships. Also, that the bond of love in the home is so strong, that no one even feels that they have to go outside the family unit to look for love. I thought that this was a very important point, pertaining mostly to teens, but can pertain also to younger family members and their peers, or to adults as well.
John 13:14 says to wash one another's feet as a sign of humility. This means in our day, doing "lesser" tasks for each other.
John 13:34 says love one another as I have loved you. This means, loving like Christ did. WWJD?
I Corinthians 11:33 says when we come together to eat, wait on one another, defer to one another, yielding rights to things and ownership.
Galatians 5:13 says don't use liberty as occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Service to family qualifies you for other service. This I thought, made a great point. In other words, do what needs to be done for the family before you go out and take care of other people's needs. This was a tough one for me to swallow, as I tend to put family on the back burner, when I have a friend in need, or the church wants me to do something. But, at what sacrifice? Is it doing my family any good to have to live in chaos while I am outside the house volunteering? No, it's not. First things first. So, if one of your children has promised the neighbor that he would mow their lawn, but hasn't done his chores. The child should take care of his business at home first, and then mow the neighbor's lawn.
Galatians 5:26 says "let us not be conceited, provoking one another." In other words, don't make jokes at others' expense.
Galatians 6:2 says "Bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ." In other words help others with chores, whether it is mom or dad, or another sibling.
Phil. 2:3 says "Let each esteem others better than ourselves." They should ask themselves this question: How have I put sibling above myself? In other words, be kindly affectionate to one another.
When we look at fairness in respect of the family, we must look at each child individually. An older child is more capable of doing more work than a younger child. If there is question of a reward, or allowance given, the same amount of money may be given for different amounts of work, based on their age and ability. This may also hold true with privilege as well. Different privileges for different ages and abilities.
We must also realize that we are on the same team as our spouse. We both want the same things for our family. When spouses work against each other, it causes disunity. God hates disunity! Children recognize disunity and can use it to their advantage. Don't let your child try to divide you. There are really few reasons to spank a child, but if your child tries to do this, then spank them. They need to know that this behavior will not be tolerated. If nothing is done to correct this behavior, the child will end up hating one of you, and loving the other, causing disunity.
Society's outlook on fairness is that everyone should be treated the same. This is an impossibility, because we are all individually unique. People are not robots.
Another mistake that society has put on families, is condoning the "child controlled" home. Because of the fairness issue, laws have been put forth for the extreme, but have effected the majority. Parents are now afraid to discipline their children, and are afraid to say "no!" Child controlled homes never work, because ultimately disunity will prevail. The child grows up thinking that he is in control of the household, does what he wants, and ends up in jail. Worse yet, dead.
Children need to be taught from a very early age to yield rights to others. The beginning of family unity is learning to put others before self.
Another mistake that many families have made is putting an unhealthy focus on one child's skills, strengths, or activities. By focusing on the talented child, the other children start to feel neglected, and unimportant. Importance should be put on each of the children, without extra attention paid to the one with more talent. This also goes without saying, that spending too much time on one child's activities, can and will cause disunity. The other child is left sitting at ballgames, bored, and feeling left out. A child should also not be praised for things they have no control over, such as looks. It is cruel to favor one child for their beauty over another. God made us each individually, beautiful in his eyes, not the worlds.
BUILDING FAMILY UNITY
Teach selflessness from the very beginning. If your children are older, start now. Help them think of other family members first. Doing things for each other on a regular basis. Not for reward or allowance, but because you love each other.
Set aside time to talk to your children about each other. Ask your children how their relationship is with "said" family member. Ask them how they think they can make their relationship better.
Make sure they realize that their siblings are their very best friends. That they will be friends forever. That they will always be able to count on one another.
Make sure you verbally affirm your love for each child. Tell them why they are important to you and the family. Written affirmation is also important because when the child is feeling down, they can read it again, and the thought will be reaffirmed.
Encourage activities that can be done together. Encourage them to play together, and work out their own differences together. If you have a child who is consistently tattling, encourage him to go to his sibling first, and then if that doesn't work to come and get you.
Lastly, make a big deal about celebrating special days with your children. This creates memories that will last a lifetime. When times are hard, they have those good times to look back upon.
Hope you enjoyed my notes. I will post another tomorrow.