photo by Simon Davison
There aren’t too many books where the intended audience is both parent and child, but I found one that is meant to be read together, preferably out loud as suggested by the young authors. And young they are, or were, when they wrote this book in 2006.
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends was written by the Mally siblings, Sarah, Stephen and Grace, when they were 22, 16 and 12, respectively. The title of the book tells it all. Their ministry is to help families figure out how to make home a place of exemplifying service to God through the relationships between brothers and sisters.
An excerpt from the middle child, Stephen:
Making Brothers And Sisters Best Friends is divided into sections for each child, so you get the benefit of perspectives from the oldest, middle and youngest children of the family. Sarah, being an adult when the book was written, tends to have more take away points. Stephen, the irascible middle boy, uses a humorous punch in his story telling and usually has a list of definitions at the end of his sections (Justice - any decision made in my favor).
Instead of asking yourself the question, “How can I persuade my brothers and sisters to treat me better?” I encourage you to try a new perspective. Ask yourself the questions, “How can I help them? What opportunities has the Lord given me to encourage or teach them?” Now as you begin to look for ways to minister to them, let me warn you, the best way to do this is not to stand on your soap box and start preaching, “YOU SINNERS, REPENT FROM DOING WRONG THINGS TO YOUR BROTHER!” You might lose your audience. Be a learner from the big ones, a teacher to the little ones, and a servant of all. Don’t be a boss or a know-it-all.
I have learned that God wants me to serve my family, not only for their benefit, but for my own benefit as well. The Lord is using these family experiences to teach me and prepare me for the future. For instance, when Grandma Mally was getting older she came to stay with us for awhile. We learned a lot from Grandma, but sometimes in ways we wouldn’t have chosen. Because Grandma couldn’t see or walk very well, the Lord gave me the opportunity to learn to be a servant. Everybody else in our family could take care of themselves, but Grandma needed help, and we had to prepare and serve all of Grandma’s food.
Grace, as the youngest, uses stories to help paint the big picture with innocence and a wisdom beyond her years. Liberally sprinkled throughout the book are hand drawn illustrations done by the siblings’ dad to tie in the message.
Other sections include one titled “I’m Perplexed“, a Q&A section; “HIS Story Applied Today“, which shares a Bible story that demonstrates the concept being discussed; and several self-evaluation quizzes.
The book is fun, anecdotal and an easy read. It would make a good read-aloud for the family as part of your family devotion time, and I have no doubt you will easily relate to some of the stories told by the kids (the one about the kids fighting in the back seat while traveling out of town on vacation particularly hit home).
Some chapter titles and subtitles that may pique your interest:
- Would you like to get along with your family as well as you do with your friends?
- Skunk and Mothballs
- Would you like to know why you had your last argument?
- What should you do when your brother or sister is bugging you?
- Do you know how to stop an argument once you are in the middle of it?
- The amazing weapon called “Praise”
- Do you know the very best thing your family can do together?
Getting Toddlers & Preschoolers To Sit Still To Be Read To
Children, The 5th Commandment, & A Little White Dog
A Week In Review