This month, KBR is hosting an “Encourage Your Siblings Challenge.” Throughout we are posting articles written by other sisters with ideas on how to invest in and encourage our siblings. As you take the challenge this month, we would love to hear what projects YOU have done together with your siblings. Email your ideas to us to share with other KBR readers!
One way sisters can encourage their siblings is by simply talking to them. If my siblings want to tell me a story that they think is funny (which sometimes can take a long time), I take the time to listen and engage in what they are telling me. I try to laugh along with them even if the story isn’t necessarily funny to me. Lately, my younger siblings have been enjoying making interesting creations with our Brio Builder toys. When they finish a creation, they like to show it to me, often while I’m working on my school. My brother Ethan (8) likes to be talked to like a big kid, so I talk to him about his creations, ask questions about it, and tell him what I like about it. When my three-year-old brother brings me the “car” he created all by himself, I like to say things like, “Good job, Levi! Wow, look at your car! Did you have fun making it?” and so on.
Another way I try to encourage my siblings is by putting aside my own plans, and spending one-on-one time with them. For example, I usually get the baby ready for bed every night. Even though I would much rather just get him tucked in quickly and then be free to do my own things, he so enjoys it when we spend time together. He is starting to talk more and more, so we have fun practicing his words, tickling, cuddling, singing and so on. Just the little time we are able to spend together one-on-one has done amazing things for our relationship.
Sometimes, all younger siblings need in order to know that you love them is a simple smile. Make it a priority to smile at your siblings—smile at them long, and smile at them often.
Hailey Dudenhoffer (14)
I am extremely thankful for each and every one of my brothers and sisters. We love being with each other. It never feels right if I am not with my siblings. I would like to share what we do as a family every day, and pray that it will encourage you to love and praise the Lord for your siblings every day!
In the morning, we all get up and begin our day. I kneel and pray to the Lord before dressing. Next, my sister and I begin to clean our animal cages. She has 60 birds! As we clean, we enjoy talking together. After cleaning, we all gather at the big dining room table to eat our breakfast and do our school. After doing our Language lessons, Noah and I start our violin lessons. Noah has a hard time learning his notes, so I’ve come up with a idea to help him. Since he likes to play Army, I give him Army badges when he completes the requirements to earn them. In this way he is becoming a better violin player. When school is over, we all make lunch together, and often take a picnic in the woods and eat there.
One thing we have all enjoyed doing together is embroidering as we listen to history tapes, or story CDs. Even my brothers like to try to do embroidery and our little sister tries to join in as well. We also enjoy sewing, doing crafts, or playing outside. The boys sometimes play Marines with each other.
At around 4:00, it’s “pet time,” as we call it. Anna and I let our animals out to play in their room, while we do our Bible studies. Then I sometimes tell the boys a story, or I work on a book I’m writing. Next, I make dinner, and then, after supper and bath, we like to draw. We like to draw pictures and my sister Sarah is a very good artist.
I am thankful for the time the Lord has given me to be with my wonderful family and am journeying toward the ultimate goal: meeting the Lord in Heaven and hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.”
Elizabeth Bryan (15)
Encouraging siblings has always been a challenge for me, ever since I was young. I like the verse, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). That verse plays over and over again in my mind when I am interacting with my siblings. When I am tempted to speak angrily, or say discouraging things, the Lord convicts my heart. I am sure that most of you have had moments when someone does something that you do not like, and in turn, you are prompted to speak back harshly. When that happens, think of this verse—“a soft answer turneth away wrath.” This should go through your mind, causing you to reflect, think before you answer, and say something edifying. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Many blessings to you in Christ Jesus!
Lydia-Grace Meggs (13)
Sometimes just the littlest things make all the difference in our siblings’ lives. Play what they want to play. Take time to see their newest little toy they made. Congratulate them on new ideas they might have. As a sister of four brothers, here are some of the things I have done:
- Play soldiers with your brothers. My brothers showed me how to get all dressed up to play, and it made all the difference to them that I wanted to play with them.
- Make a special breakfast for your mom. One morning, when the rest of the family was asleep, one of my brothers and I made a delicious breakfast including cinnamon biscuits and icing, tea, and a fruit salad. What made all the difference in my little brother’s life was that I included him in this project.
- Work together. My brother and I make a mopping team, one mopping, while the other sprays the floor. All the difference is that he feels special by being able to help.
- Play together. My brothers and I play kickball together. They think it is special when I let them come up with the game that we should play together.
If you are telling them what to do and making them try to obey you, try talking gently to them instead, and doing what they want to do, and soon they will want to do what you want to do!
Kinslea Davenport (10)
“Elese, I have nothing to do. Can you work with me in the workshop and we can make something together?”
“Leese, can I play with your doll Sarah? I am tired of playing with my dolls. Oh, can you set up a house for me before you leave? I can not do it like you. “
“Leese, you said that we would read the KBR together this morning, but we did not get up early enough. Can we do it this afternoon?”
I am the oldest sister in my family, and all of my younger siblings want a portion of my time. You like to spend time with them, right? In a similar way younger siblings look up to their older brothers and sisters. Here are some ideas on how to invest in the lives of your siblings.
- Take the time to notice what they value
- Ask how they might want to spend time with you
- Suggest doing projects that they can only do with help
- Memorize Scripture with them
- If your brothers enjoy outside activity, play “Indians” with them for the afternoon
- Remember that you are helping your sibling have fun, even if you think you look weird
- Tea parties are enjoyed by little sisters
- Sometimes reading aloud to the younger ones is a huge blessing to them
- Play hide and seek and give a prize to whoever is found last, or not found at all
- Let them be your supper-making helper
- Take nature walks with your siblings and talk about how you both enjoy life and how you struggle
- Make playdough figures with them
- Color and draw with them
There are many ways in which we can invest in our siblings’ lives. Be creative and ask God to help you bless your siblings lives…not only in April, but forever! I pray you all will love your family more with each passing day.
Elise Marie Meggs (16)
Have a card-making festival with your sisters – be creative and create different styles with supplies such as ribbon, buttons, stitching with a sewing machine, layering different color papers, and more! Cards are very fun to make together, and can also be an encouragement to friends and family – send them a note and Scripture verse. Enjoy a cup of tea and a cookie while you work together with your siblings.
Make a batch of cookies together. Brothers especially will love this special treat!
Little sisters often love it when big sister arranges their hair a little differently or fancier than normal. Take the extra time to arrange her hair one morning and add a colorful ribbon.
Doing an egg hair treatment – or an egg/herbal hair treatment – is easy and can be a unique adventure to do together. It also strengthens and boosts the health of hair. (Ask your mom before tackling this project!) Or, have a dress-up tea party; every little sister – and little brothers too – love to dress up!
Plant some flowers, seeds – or your family garden – together. As you work, share with your siblings how our spiritual life is similar to gardening principles. Most importantly, take time to listen, encourage, and pray with your brothers and sisters.
Do you have more ideas? Feel free to share them with us! Many blessings to you as you invest in your siblings’ lives for eternity!
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…
[Who] made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.”