Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's Worked for Us: Nurturing Sibling Friendships

Sometimes those of us who are bloggers tend to be self-indulgent. This post is one of those cases. I just love this photo of our oldest daughter, Anna, and her sister, Faith. Anna is 23 and Faith is 14. Though the girls are nearly 10 years apart in age, they share a close friendship. That makes this mother's heart sing. I invite you to share my joy!

As our children are growing up, we do everything we can think of to encourage them to be close-knit. This has meant limiting outside activities so that we can spend more time together as a family. It's required teaching, training and nurturing in our kids an understanding of the crucial step of taking responsibility when they sin against a sibling and seeking reconciliation immediately upon the recognition that they've done wrong. Our kids are not allowed to speak critically of one another or tease in an unkind way. This means the two of us have had to model these standards in our marriage and in our relationships with our children. Crazy as it sounds, we've even gone so far as to ask that our children not call someone outside their siblings their best friend (until marriage). We encourage them to always think of each other as their best friends, and to say of others, "She is one of  my best friends." 

Now that seven of our kiddos are grown, three more are youth and two in their last years as elementary-age children, we're seeing the fruit of our many prayers that their friendship would remain strong. The twelve of them (and now our two sons-in-law) cherish the rare chance to see one another now that we've spread out across the country. We thank God for His powerful grace in this area! He abounds in lovingkindness!

The photo above was taken at a wedding of dear friends which all of us we attended in May in Pennsylvania. Anna was one of the bridesmaids, and Faith assisted me with my photography assignment. Being together in the bride's dressing room, the sisters didn't miss the chance to savor a sweet hug.

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