Spend any time at all hunting for new blogs to read and you will undoubtedly discover a plethora that can teach and encourage any of us to be good spouses or great parents. I’m not a parent, I don’t have kiddos, but I do read several blogs about parenting. I keep telling myself that it’s preparing me for the future. I also enjoy a few blogs with advice for my marriage.
But as much as I keep searching, I have yet to find many blogs about being any other member of a family. I understand the demographic, there aren’t too many 10 year-olds hunting for posts about how to better serve and love their parents.
I’ve been looking for a blog with practical advice about how to be a better daughter, daughter-in-law, sister or even grand-daughter. Where are those blogs?
I get it, the role of parent and spouse are important and carry a lot of weight in a family.
But the other relationships and how we handle our unique roles are also pretty important.
I shared part of a quote by Charles Swindoll yesterday. He says, “We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”
You and I don’t have any control over how our siblings, parents and roommates will respond to situations on a daily basis, we only have a choice to govern our own attitudes and actions. That being said, I just wanted to throw out a few pointers that I’ve
failed at learned along the way when it comes to those who share our tables and last names.
1. Be intentional. This job ISN’T just for the parent or the older sibling. If you desire to have a better relationship with someone in your life then you should be prepared to take on some of the maintenance and labor. Do you want to get closer to your brother? Text him, call him or send a goofy picture. Do you wish you had better communication with your mom? Try spending one on one time with her! So often our family relationships become strained because our communication develops only in stressful situations… like when we are all running out the door in the morning. Be intentional with the where and the when. Choose to deepen your family relationships by giving them the time that you give to your friendships.
2. Give your full attention. If you ask to take your mom to lunch and then you spend a good portion of the meal texting one of your friends, you are circumventing your own intentional efforts. When you are with someone choose to be all in. I make a very pointed effort to not bring my phone out when I’m spending time with a family member or friend. I leave it in my purse. I’m not purposely ignoring my other relationships, I’m just choosing to give my full attention to one relationship at a time. Trust me, giving your full attention to the person in front of you is totally worth it. I’ve yet to leave dinner with my friends and think, “Man, I wish I had been more distracted.”
3. Speak with love!
Home: The place in which you are treated the best and grumble the most. – Author Unknown
Ain’t that the truth? There’s something about the familiar that can lead us to let our true selfish desires out in the extreme. I’m amazed even now as an adult how quickly I can snap at my siblings when I return home. Maybe it’s because I know they have to love me or maybe it’s because being home makes me lazy… either way, I know that I can be on my worst behavior when I go home. Even now I’m making a mental list of my bad behavior at Christmas. Blech. Again, I can’t control anyone else, but I alone have power over my own words. So do you. Instead of snapping we need to start actively loving our families with our words.
“Instead, as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head.” (Ephesians 4:15, GWT)
4. Keep them in the loop. No one likes to be on the outside! As busy as your family might seem, it’s far better to give too much information rather than not enough. (I’m not talking about gossip, by the way.) Your mom wants to know about your schedule because she wants to know about you. When I call my sister I will usually ask what the week or weekend holds for her. I’m not writing all the information down, but I am staying connected to what she cares about. Knowing those details lets me feel a part of her world and hopefully shows her value. Invite your family to share in your life by keeping them involved on a regular basis.
5. Pray for them. There are tons of books about praying for your kids, but I say let’s flip it! Pray for your parents. They have just as much confusion and heartache in their lives as you do. They have hopes for the future and they have things that God has laid on their hearts. Pray that they would be able to lead your family, follow God’s calling, and stay connected to His word. Do you have family members that aren’t in a relationship with God? Pray that they would open up. So often hurt and anger keep people from the peace and love God offers. Rather than yell or shout, simply pray that those you love would know the source of love.
Take your role in your family seriously. Your job as sister, brother, friend, daughter, or grand-daughter is the one you were born to take on. Embrace it and step into the lovely mess knowing God created the family unit to be a huge blessing!
Living His Story,