“Brothers & Sisters”

I have been remiss in completing Part II of my series “The Five “C’s”: Church, Cliques, Coffee, Cookies & Crumbs” but promise it is forthcoming, If you have not read it and the supplemental comments/remarks it will enhance this post on “Brothers & Sisters.”

In my research, I remembered this excellent selection from John James “A Help to Domestic Happiness” and thought it appropriate to post prior to my article. With four siblings (three brothers, one sister), I can relate and even with biblical parenting, raising godly children is no easy task. Read on and perhaps you will be helped…

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. John 15:12

Brothers and sisters should make it a study to promote each other’s happiness. They should take pleasure in pleasing each other, instead of each being selfishly taken up in promoting his own separate enjoyment. They should never envy each other’s gratification; if one has a more valuable plaything than the other, the rest should rather rejoice than be sorry. Envy in children is likely to grow into a most baleful and malignant disposition. They should never take each other’s possessions away, and be always willing to lend what cannot be divided, and to share what does admit of being divided. Each must do all he can to promote the happiness of the others. They should never be indifferent to each other’s sorrows, much less laugh at, and sport with each other’s tears and griefs. It is a lovely sight to see one child weeping because another is in distress. A boy that sees his brother or sister weep, and can be unconcerned or merry at the sight, would when he becomes a man, in all probability, see them starve without helping them.

Children should never accuse each other to their parents, nor like to see each other punished. An informer is a hateful and detestable character; but a tattle-tale against his brother or sister, is the most detestable of all spies. If, however, one should see another doing that which is wrong, and which is known to be contrary to the will of their parents, he should first in a kind and gentle manner point out the wrong, and give an intimation that if it be not discontinued, he shall be obliged to mention it—and if the warning be not taken, it is then manifestly his duty to acquaint their parents with the fact.

Children must not tease or torment one another. How much family uneasiness sometimes arises from this source—one of the children, perhaps, has an infirmity or weakness of temper, or awkwardness of manner, or personal deformity, and the rest, instead of pitying it, tease and torment the unhappy individual, until all get quarreling and crying together. Is this promoting their mutual comfort? If there be anyone of the family that is in bad health, or weakly–all the rest, instead of neglecting that one, ought to strive to the uttermost to amuse him. How pleasing a sight it is, to see a child giving up his play time, to read to, or converse with, a sick brother or sister; while nothing is more disgusting than that selfishness which will not spare a single hour for the amusement of the poor sufferer upon the bed, or the little prisoner in the nursery. As to fighting, quarreling, or calling bad names, this is so utterly disgraceful, that it is a deep shame upon those children who live in such practices. Dr. Watts has very beautifully said—

“Whatever brawls disturb the street,There should be peace at home,Where sisters dwell, and brothers meet Quarrels should never come. “Birds in their little nests agree; And ’tis a shameful sight,When children of one family, Fall out, and chide, and fight. “Hard names at first, and threatening words, That are but noisy breath,May grow to clubs and fearful swords, To murder and to death.”

Children that are removed from home to school, should be both watchful over, and kind to each other. They should manifest a peculiar and kind interest in each other’s comfort, and not neglect one another. It is pleasant to see two brothers or two sisters, always anxious to have each other as playmates, or as members of the little circle with which they associate, defending one another from oppression or unkindness, and striving to make their absence from home, as comfortable as they can by their mutual kindness.

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