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.