Harmony. The word reminds us of pleasant music and happy relationships. Today, friend and author Karen Whiting introduces her new book Growing a Mother’s Heart and offers tips on how to teach our children how to live in harmony with one another.
Moms love it when their children play in harmony and get along. When fights disrupt the peace, or they resist cooperating with rules and family life, strife abounds. Paul urged the family of God, the people in Philippi, to live in harmony and provided some keys for that.
He urged two women Euodia and Syntche to get along. We don’t know the problem, but the names provide clues. Euodia means good journey and Syntche means fortunate or blessed. Two women in different paths. One is traveling a road called good. I can imagine it’s a hard journey, a struggle that God will use for good. The one blessed may be thinking, “How long will this last before I have a new struggle” or, “She may be having it tough but she’s out there working for the Lord and he is using her.” It’ the old comparison game, and not rejoicing or empathizing with others. It’s also not trusting that God has each of u right where he wants us to be at the moment.
How do we translate this into mothering our children? One way is to model it in life, and another is to express joy and compassion for each child. The best model is with both parents. My husband and I agreed we’d lift one another up with respect and love. So, if a child said something negative about my husband, I’d say, “That’s the man I love and wanted to be your daddy.” I’d add something connected with the remark. My husband did the same. We also chose to rejoice for each other and to be content for our own position. I met his arrival home with a smile and mention some adventure we had that day. He hugged me and said he couldn’t wait to hear our news. Then after the children gushed about the day, I asked him to share his journey.
Let the concept be with the children. Avoid comparisons and encourage each. I took time to praise each child for the toy being used and ask what else they could do with it. That often kept them engrossed in their toys. When one complained or wanted what another had, I reminded them that they would get a turn but for now they could watch, applaud what the sibling did, and think of what to do when they had a turn.
When my children started to compare portions as I tried hard to divide a dessert evenly, I chose to respond in a way to get their eyes on their own treat. I said to my daughter, “I would not want you to lie and comparing portions is not kind. I tried to give everyone the same amount. So, I will take a scoop of yours and give it to your brother. Now let’s enjoy what we each has on our own plate.” Another day I said, “Your daddy had a hard week, so I am giving him some of my dessert. He needs a little extra sweetness for working hard to provide so much for us.” That led to children sharing more and ended comparisons in our home. It helped everyone focus on spreading joy over complaints.
My younger daughter uses a different approach. When anyone starts to grumble, she yells out, “What is this day?” They sing back, “The day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice in it.” Then she yells, “What are you rejoicing about?” They take turns giving reasons to rejoice and let go of the grumbling. It refocuses them.
This works. As adults, our children have been great supporters of one another. My oldest daughter dropped everything to go and watch her brother’s children when his wife needed surgery. In turn that son helped a younger sister when she had car trouble and paid for new tires since she had money problems. They were all happy to see one help another as they could and to fill needs. They all spent time before their dad died visiting, helped as they could, and understood we would pay expenses for anyone who asked for travel money. No one counted dollars but rejoiced at whoever was able to spend time with their dad. He felt so thankful that they came and showed harmony.
Fostering harmony starts when children are little and continues as we consider how to best help, rejoice, and lend support to one another as we are able to do so.
What’s your favorite tip for bringing harmony? Click here to comment.Karen Whiting introduces her new book Growing a Mother’s Heart and offers tips on how to teach our children how to live in harmony. #parentingskills Click To Tweet
Karen Whiting writes and speaks to help families thrive and build lasting bonds. Her new release and twenty-seventh book is titled Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. She also enjoys family adventure including riding a camel in the Canary Islands, Scuba diving off Bermuda’s coast, white water rafting in Australia.
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|Growing a Mother’s Heart: 180 Day Devotional
By Karen Whiting
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