Raise your hand if you're the oldest of your siblings.
See if you can relate to this:
You are the sibling who loves chore lists, weekly planners, everyone doing something at the same time (i.e. schooling, reading), everyone completing their chore list at precisely the same time because of course we can't get off our schedule! You can mentally fill the rest in.
It is a natural born tendency for the oldest child to be control freaks. We were taught from a young age to obey rules, and we feel we have to be the boss, be a good Javert and live by the law and teach others to or die trying.
Being the oldest automatically makes us perfectionists. Don't ask why. If I knew, I'd tell. And if you haven't learned by now, take it from me, this nature is virtually impossible to allow to prosper in your family. Because living in a family is messy. Life is messy. Kids are messy. There is nothing about living with any other human being that is perfect. And there never will be.
So we are in the 'in charge' spot by birth order, and can't help it. BUT! We can help how we use/abuse that prestigious placing. It is an honor, and great responsibility.
In this new year, I've resolved that I will become that fun loving, relaxed sister who cuts out the extreme obsession/domineering over movie worldviews, song selections, and practice this amazing new concept...letting the parents be the boss! It's not my job to determine what is best for them, it's my job to love them and inspire them through my example and speech. And ultimately, to help build them in their love for Christ and to share this love.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24
With my parents wise counsel and encouragement, these are some things I've been praying about and trying to implement in this new year with my siblings.
- Letting them be kids...they shouldn't hear "clean up" their whole lives
- Letting them make messes, and sometimes being the mess instigator yourself, if it means they have fun. Putting 'the joy in their hearts' first.
- Yes we are concerned with music/movies/literature they take in, but it's not our job. Bite your tongue over that song, because it's one less wedge that comes between you and that sibling.
- Do sporadic, fun things. Pile them up in the car for a surprise...even if it's just to Jack's for ice cream. It makes a difference
- Instead of hoarding your hours of silence/reading time at night in bed, invite the older kids under you in for a game of cards on the bed.
- With little ones...get down on their level. You aren't above that! Have tea and imagine wild and silly things. Get in the mud with the little boys...even if you have to put gloves on. :) Little minds thrive on imagination and creativity.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14