It has been fascinating to listen to my kids interact lately. For so long, my 8-year-old just tolerated his little sister. Sure, he showed kindness and love towards her from the day she was born – but he was not always sure what to do with her.
But she’s almost 5 now… She is smart and articulate and able to enjoy and participate in the things which interest my son. They play together – they help each other – they sincerely seem to enjoy each other’s company!
One night this week, I hid in the bathroom and listened to their voices in the hallway. They were playing some imaginative game which included a battle scene where my son held a light saber and my daughter held a dog bone. (I didn’t ask…) Their matched creativity and the giggles which followed left this mother’s heart happy!
When they go their separate ways for school each day, they hug and say ‘I love you!’ When we watch a movie, they cuddle near each other, content in the close presence of their sibling.
My husband and I have told them from the beginning that we expect them to treat each other with love and respect – and to be thankful to have one another as brother or sister. In some families, it seems to be an expectation that brothers and sisters will argue and fight. Of course kids will live up to that expectation!
I know my kids are not perfect – they bicker and tattle. We all get irritated with the people we must coexist with! (And of course – now that I’ve shared with the world how wonderful their relationship is, they are bound to have some big fight!) But mostly, they just love each other!
I told my 5-year-old that I was writing about how she loves her brother. She responded by saying she didn’t know what love feels like. I was taken aback – but soon realized she meant physically, not the emotional feeling of love. She said she thinks love feels like your whole body goes beep-beep-beep, like when your heart beats. Perfect! Love towards another person induces an all-encompassing, full-body experience of rightness with the world; rightness with God!
When we interact with other people, we have a choice – this goes for siblings, your spouse, coworkers, and even the random people you meet each day. We can treat each other with love, compassion and respect, or we can be self-serving, vindictive and distrusting. Sure, I know some people are harder to love than others. (Some siblings are harder to love than others…) But we know we are called to love! When we show love to one another, we feel joy and peace – our body goes beep-beep! And we know we are in the presence of God!
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7