Errand of care / accountability (vs. 12-17) Past the point of no return
Religious Families with real problems
Vanity and the benefit of silence
Work hard to share love to all members of your family.
Probe to find out what others can easily see about your family dynamic. You will probably be blind to what is obvious to others.
Deal with pride.
Get at any root of bitterness. Stop anger as early as possible. Deal with underlying causes not just symptoms.
How do economic disruptions affect your life? How many times have you relocated for the sake of a pay check? Do you see job transitions decreasing or increasing in frequency? Is it easy for you to form meaningful connections after a move?
Did you grow up with brothers and sisters? What was that like for you? Do you remember fighting? How come children tend to forget how much they fought but parents don’t? How much tension among siblings is normal? Are there warning signs that the tension is boiling over?
How do pride and vanity affect family relationships? How well does it work to have two vain people in a relationship? What does it mean to be a prima donna? Have you ever had to work with someone who was exceedingly vain? What was that like? How did you handle it? What kind of reactions does a vain person inspire in those around them?
Does telling the truth mean that one is obligated to say everything one knows? Is withholding information wise or deceptive? Just because Joseph had the dreams, did he have to tell his brothers about them? Should Joseph have kept quiet about that? How do you think the story would have played out if Joseph had never mentioned the dreams?
Have you ever been in a relationship so tense that your every move was viewed with suspicion? How do you get out of that kind of place? Why do we cut some people slack but hold others to a very strict standard? What role do relationship and trust play in what we will put up with? Have you noticed that if you love someone and are in a harmonious relationship, their foibles aren’t nearly as annoying as the foibles of someone whom you don’t like?
Why do parents pick favorites among their children? Is that inevitable? Do parents who don’t pick favorites just get better at faking it? What does it mean to treat you children equally? Is equality a dynamic or static concept? That is if you have a bike for one child for their 12th birthday, does equality demand that you give their sibling a bike on the same birthday?
Consider the idea of the “root of bitterness.” Have you ever thought of bitterness as a seed that grows? If you can’t see anger yet, is it worth addressing? How can parents be proactive in addressing problems early and yet “pick their battles”? Does being proactive in addressing anger lead to multiplying the things you might have conflict over? Have you known of a situation where bitterness and anger were left to grow on their own? How did that story play out?
What practical tools have you found effective in dealing with growing sibling tension and conflict? When do you step in and intervene, and when do you let them work it out? Should a parent solve every dispute? If not, which ones do you engage in and which ones do you let go? Is there an objective standard for answering these questions, or it up to personal preference?