We were off to such a good start…this new little family of 4.
My first son was 2.5 when my second son was born. He was smitten from the beginning….wanting to hold him, sing to him, and be the big brother we had talked about while I was pregnant.
Then, little brother started crawling…he started going after his big brother’s things…he started knocking over his hard day’s work….and then it all changed.
We immediately noticed how little brother had zero regard for the birth order. He was set on proving that he was in charge now…at 6 months old!
Little brother wanted to be “alpha male” and big brother wasn’t going down without a fight.
I knew, even then, we were in for trouble.
Now, with our boys a little older at 6 and 3.5, with two more brothers joining the crew (twin 1.5 year olds), the battles have only begun. But even now, we see the problems it can cause in our family, and especially in their little hearts.
Sibling rivalry isn’t a new concept. It’s bound to happen in each and every family regardless of age between and gender of siblings.
When I picture “rivalry”, I think of an army of men on horseback, charging with swords drawn, determined to overcome their enemy…regardless of the consequences.
And in our house, sibling rivalry and been just that…well, minus the horses.
Helping Our Sons Overcome The Battle In Their Hearts
We learned very early on that consequences and threats, no matter how severe, would not sway the internal or external battles waging between our boys.
After one too many fights with no resolve or desire to change, I knew I had to help my boys see their sin in a new light.
So, I decided I needed my own battle plan…I needed to approach their sin with this same idea….that there is a battle going on in their hearts.
They’re boys. They love guns, swords, play fights, bad guys, and anything physical….good place to start, I thought.
As my boys were beginning to watch more shows that introduced “the bad guys”, I saw it as a great time to introduce the idea that the bad choices they made them the “bad guys”…that if they had chosen to let the “good win” they would be one of the “good guys.”
This led perfectly into my conversation with my oldest son. Once again, he let his selfishness consume him and he hurt his brother out of his anger.
After his consequence for hurting his brother on purpose, I sent him to his room to calm down, which also gave me a chance to calm down and regroup.
The Lord always shows up in moments like this. He is faithful to lead us to love our children in the way THEY need to be loved.
I sat down on his bed, put him on my lap, and began to unpack what I had noticed going on in his heart…
“Buddy, I understand how you feel when your brother takes your favorite guy. I understand how it makes you angry when he knocks over your lego creation on purpose.
It’s okay to get frustrated, but it’s NOT okay to hurt your brother because of it.
Right now, in your heart, there’s a battle going on. A battle between love and sin.
Jesus wants the love in your heart to win…but Satan wants the sin in your heart to win.
Every time you choose to hurt your brother when you get mad, you are letting the sin win….letting Satan win. But when you choose to walk away or use your words instead of your hands and feet, you are letting love win…letting Jesus win in your heart.
WHO DO YOU WANT TO WIN IN YOUR HEART?”
“Mommy, I don’t want sin to win, I want Jesus to win, but it’s just so hard.”
My son knew the right answer, but he also knew that it was hard to do the right thing.
I sat there, tears welling up in my eyes, and I, for the first time, felt like I was standing right there in his little shoes.
As a parent, I know the right answers too…I know I need to give more grace, to be more patient, to see things from their point of view, to lower my expectations sometimes…but it’s hard! The unspoken idols of motherhood are hard to see as sins, but deep down, if it’s rooted in our selfishness, it is!
It’s a humbling lesson that we all need to revisit every now and then.
As my husband and I desire to raise Godly boys, we see the importance of starting the sin conversations early. Of using this language in our daily lives. Of taking it to Jesus and asking for His help to make the right decisions.
They are born little-flawed beings, and as sweet as they can be when they’re little, that sin creeps in rather early (too early if you ask me!). The sooner we address the problem as a problem, the sooner we ***may*** see fruit of change from those conversations.
***I say MAY because we believe that God is the only ONE who can change our children’s hearts. It is our job of parents to teach, train, and model Christ-like behavior, but it is ultimately the Lord who will lead them to change.***
When each of my boys were dedicated at our home church, our pastor presented this verse in reference to raising our children…
Psalm 127: 3-5
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
This verse breathes life into a mother’s heart. The picture of us raising our children to shoot them out into the world, as straight as arrows, ready for battle, will always stick close to my heart, and I pray that it will continue to mold and shape my heart as I help them make good decisions for themselves and to be SHOT OUT into the world and impact the world for HIS GLORY.
Because, ultimately, that’s the goal, right?
Raising Godly boys isn’t about making our life as parents easier, it’s not about making sure our boys stay safe, or have good relationships with their brothers, even though those are all good things.
It’s about the KINGDOM IMPACT that they could have one day if they choose to walk in obedience to the Lord and seek His guidance in hard decisions.
But, in order to get there, we have to help them be aware of that battle waging in their hearts.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WIN IN YOUR HEART? LOVE OR SIN?
“DON’T LET THE SIN IN YOUR HEART WIN!”
[click_to_tweet tweet=”We believe that God is the only ONE who can change our children’s hearts. It is our job of parents to teach, train, and model Christ-like behavior, but it is ultimately the Lord who will lead them to change. #RaisingGodlyBoys ” quote=”We believe that God is the only ONE who can change our children’s hearts. It is our job of parents to teach, train, and model Christ-like behavior, but it is ultimately the Lord who will lead them to change. #RaisingGodlyBoys “]
It’s also important to help them understand that their right choices are an opportunity to “lead by example”.
Many times sibling rivalry could be avoided if one child chooses to make the right choice, and we often see the other siblings follow suit and choose to do right also.
I like to continue to remind them that choosing love and obedience is a great opportunity to lead the others into good decisions as well.
Resource for Boy Moms:
Where the Red Fern Grows Book Club by Dachelle of Hide the chocolate!
I’m Christi, wife, mom of 4 boys, Christ follower, picture taker, DIYer, chocolate eater, and coffee drinker. Born and raised a Florida girl, now braving the mountains of Boone, NC, I’m on a journey to find peace in the midst of my mundane.