He Did The Right Thing


My 9-year old, Noah, loves to play with his friends. If there is one thing that I know will crush him it is to ground him from going outside to play with all of the neighbors.  If there is a chance to play, he’s all over it. Except for one recent Saturday morning. One of the neighbors came over to ask if he could play.  We assumed he would.  After closing the door, he came back into the house.  His Dad and I were curious and asked him why he didn’t go play.  He replied, “I told Seth I’d play with him.” Most days Noah would prefer to play with the older kids.  Having his 4-year old brother tag along isn’t always his preference.  But that Saturday morning, he chose to honor his little brother and place him above his friends. And we nearly cried. Most siblings grow up with the rivalry that accompanies being in the same family.  They know exactly what words to say to annoy the other and what looks to make in order to see tears shed.  They know. While we expect a certain amount of rivalry between them, we don’t allow it to go too far.  Because there will come a day when many of these friends will be gone.  Some will move away.  Others will just move on.  But brothers? Brothers are forever. Some friends of ours taught us about sibling revival vs. sibling rivalry. So, we teach our boys that they are best friends.  When Noah calls his brother Dumbo and when Seth whacks him across the back, we deal with it.  Swiftly.  We then explain the whole your brother is your best friend theory once again.  They say their reluctant I’m sorrys and roll their eyes as they hug. And within a short period of time, they are best friends again. If you are a parent, I’d love to hear some ideas about how your parent your children to truly love one another.

26 thoughts on “He Did The Right Thing”

  1. We try and teach our children the same thing. We have from the beginning taught our children that they are best friends and we quickly nip any form of sibling rivalry. It is a constant task to direct them this way. My two oldest are now in the teen years and have a wonderful relationship with one another. I pray that the other little ones will follow in their example of friendship and love for one another.

  2. We did ALOT of family outings and family “things” while they were young. We always said “I love you” to each other…and meant it. We prayed ALOT together and my husband & I prayed ALOT for them. It’s only by the grace of God and His gracious love for us that we all survived! Our adult children are now very close and talk to each other multiple times a week (they don’t live in the same state) and make time to see each other when they come home. It warms my mother’s heart to hear them say “I love you” to each other and give each other huge bear hugs!

  3. I have 3 boys one a teenager and two almost there and a girl. My three boys are very close yet they still pick at each other alot! I found that questioning them with the “what it would feel like if the tables were turned and how would you feel?” and it makes them stop and think about their actions. We to have also taken on the brothers and best friend and it all comes together! Then somedays they just fight to fight and nothing works. Urgh… That is when I retreat to my room and have some chocolate!

  4. Love this story. Would’ve made me cry, too. We stop sibling disrespect immediately, too. I haven’t addressed it with the “best friends” approach, but I sure do like that. We usually address it as “she is the only sister you have” or “that’s my son. it hurts mommy when you hurt my son.” my kids usually play well together, but they certainly have their moments!

  5. I recently sent my two oldest teenagers to public school after homeschooling for 7 years. I am still schooling my youngest two kiddos. My older ones love school, friends, football and lunch. The one comment that they consistently make about being in school is how much they miss their siblings.
    When I was a single mom, I created a “team mentality” for our family. We had to work together and serve each other in order to really thrive! It was such a blessing for us and now we have grown closer because of those years.

    My one plug would be to help the boys serve each other. Take turns doing a “chore” for another as a gift or when one has extra homework…take on his duties to help him out. My kids have enjoyed “doing” for each other and they always enjoy someone “doing” for them!

    Enjoy your precious boys!

  6. We have also taken the “team” approach. I think that the oldest child tends to set the stage for the sibling dynamic, so we have focused most of our energy on our oldest daughter, who is 14. We call her “team leader”. She is the captain of the kid team within our home. We constantly remind her that GOD gave her that responsibility, not us.

    She has amazed us more than once with her loyalty to her sister. She had promised baby sister to sit with her on the first day of school in the cafeteria. She remembered her promise even though her younger sister forgot and had to squeeze to make room at the table for her. LOL.

    To you parents with young kids…keep it up. It really does work!

  7. We work at this as well and our two oldest daughters made up a “sister cheer”. It goes like this:
    “She’s my sister–my girl–my best friend in the world.”
    They finish the cheer back to back, shouting peace and flashing the peace sign. I love it!

  8. When I found out we were having another boy we immediately said they will be best friends, they are 3 1/2 years between them. they are 7 & 4. They love each other so much they do so much for each other, they hold hands, tell each other that they love each other and lay in bed and giggle (that always makes me smile) my oldest has always always been so protective of his little brother & my youngest thinks his ‘Bubba’ hung the moom ! My husband & I love to see their bonding its such an awesome thing.

  9. When we moved to Dallas we were far enough away from Reia’s best friends that we didn’t get to see them often. (If I knew then what I know now, we would have gone regardless the price of gas.) Anyhoo, what fostered in my kids though was a love of playing together. There was no one else to play with.

    One of my continual prayers is that they will become and stay good friends who call each other and lean on each other as they grow older.

    BTW, Reia read this whole post on her own and explained it to Reese. =) Your little boys mug caught her eye.

  10. This post brought tears to my eyes. 🙂 I hope that if we have more children (we just have one now) that they will be so loyal.

  11. I so loved this post. I have a son, 6, and a daughter, 3. I try to deal with their sibling rivarly just as soon as I hear/notice it. Fortunately, at this age anyway, we don’t have a lot of issues. I love to watch them hug and kiss each other and tell how much they love each other. My little girl told her brother the other day that she loved him SO MUCH she was going to marry him one day. Best Friends. Nothing better to me than when you have one always with you because – until you are grown – they live in your house.

  12. so sweet!!! we do the same thing with our boys, remind them they’re best friends.

    but if one is being disrespectful to the other they’re reminded there’s no playing with any other friends until you know how to treat one another. that’s helped us cut down on a lot of fighting!

  13. I don’t know if you remember or not, but Katie and I didn’t get along well at all growing up! That is one thing I don’t want for my boys. I know that we will have to deal with some issues, but even now (at 6 months of age) we will put the boys next to each other and say “This is your best friend.” I want to start informing them that they are best friends, so that it will always be fact to them!

  14. We use some of the similar ideas that are being said in your comments today. We are team and your brother and sister will always be in your life.
    I always make all the kids support each other. The youngest has always been taken to the older siblings sports, concerts, etc. When it is her turn, even though they want to stay home I remind them that it is their turn to support the younger sibling. We are always cheering each other on.

  15. My parents have cultivated not just sibling relationship in my brothers, sister and I but also friendship. Now that I am grown, I consider them my best friends. I’d rather hang out with them than with anyone else.

    It breaks my heart to see other siblings not get along or rarely talk unless on a holiday…especially when I know what joy there is to be found in this relationship.

  16. Since my two are only 2 1/2 and 10 months old, I obviously have no “approach.” I do make my son hug and kiss his sister when he hurts her…of course all while she is screaming, as if to say: “Get OFF me!” 🙂

    But I really like this “best friends” concept. It is priceless.
    Thanks for sharing it, and also for everyone else’s suggestions. Good stuff. What an oasis this site is in our dry land, where most parenting advice is given by lost child psychiatrists.

  17. P.S. Does anyone know of a good Christian parenting magazine? I am so displeased with the one I receive because the views in it often go against my faith convictions.
    Just wondering?

  18. Um, well our daughters have a good relationship probably because we drug them from continent to continent in ministry. They often only had each other and had many opportunities to bond while learning to adjust to new cultures and homes. It’s probably not the preferred way to help your children have a good relationship 🙂 but if you’re in ministry, experiencing frequent change and worried about what you’re doing to you children, God can handle it. One bi-product for us has been having a very close family. My daughters are now 22 and 19 and are amazing young women. Parents modeling respect for others in your home doesn’t hurt either!

  19. That is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard. What a shepherd’s heart Noah has! I’m all a-tingle inside. My boys are 10 years apart. Now that they are 26 and 16 they actually have use for each other and spend time together.

  20. I agree with all the ‘movers’ out there. Often, the circumstances are such that the siblings are playmates – for lack of any other. And if they really want to play, they learn to work it out. I think it does help to be available to guide the arguements to a solution when they don’t seem to go anywhere on their own.
    We try to get ours to “put themselves in the other persons shoes” as well. And ultimately, mom and dad won’t put up with the bickering. So then they bond together and gang up on Mom & Dad!

  21. We preach the sibling/best friend thing, here too. It’s a truth that needs to be spoken over them and they will live it out. We also do a lot of acts of service for siblings, and words of affirmation (like the “love around” we did here last august…remember? Loved that).

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