Family Discipleship - Harmony - Hands

December 01, 2021


Encourage peace within the family.


Flowing from the heart and head, harmony taking action in the work of our hands in our family life might best be seen in the service that we render to one another. Just this morning my youngest son asked why he needs to do his chores. Generally well-meaning and responsible, my son, still has moments of resistance and questioning, especially when asked to do the dishes or take out the trash. He made the humorous comment, that since as the saying goes “if you want it done right, do it yourself” why that might not apply to my request for him to do these chores. If I really wanted them done right, his logic suggested, I would be better served to do them myself, rather than put them upon him.

Since, as has been discussed above, harmony involves looking at the world from the perspective of others, when we are open as a family to care for the needs of others and responsibilities of the family as a whole, we gain a perspective beyond our own limited vision. If you have had similar conversations as I did this morning, you will not be surprised to learn that this was far from the first time that I or my wife have received this kind of pushback. In part due to the reality of second-born kids, our youngest is the more likely to resist, while his brother might grumble, but rarely truly hesitates to do what is asked of him.

It is natural for kids to struggle with learning how to look at the world from the perspective of others. Even when we point out how we might see and understand things, until they have grown and matured enough, there will be a natural limit to how well they are able to understand.

Yet, as parents, it is still our role to help them gain this perspective and thus develop the grounding from which household harmony can grow. Since mere talking has its limits, getting our kids active in responsibilities that challenge them to behave as though they understand the perspectives of others, even before they actually do is helpful. They might grumble their way through the tasks asked of them, but through our modeling and walking with them as they perform the chores asked of them as a part of the family, we begin to give them the opportunity to see what it is like to experience life from the perspective of others. We then reinforce the learning that we hope they are engaged in talking with them at times about how we appreciate the help that they provide.

As they mature, our children will learn to build harmony in the home by taking on the perspective of others and taking action to support and assist each other, even when no specific request is asked of them. Depending on how young your own children are, you might consider the idea of them lending a hand without being asked as far-fetched. They might have done so when they were younger, happily emulating mom or dad, but certainly not now. Trust me when I tell you that the day is coming when your kids will developmentally grow to the point of truly being able to take on the perspective of others and will then be able to see far more clearly what they can do to lend a hand. Then their love for the family as a whole will inspire their actions. Until those days, be consistent in your modeling, walk with your kids patiently as they complete their chores, and pray daily for harmony to grow in your home.

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