My two oldest children usually get along very well. They play well together, and they prefer to be together rather than apart. Elijah (age 6) and Chastity (age 4) play better together than any mommy could ever hope. They are not perfect. They still sometimes argue, but it never gets out of hand.
One of the factors in this, I believe, is that they are very different. They often times will be playing the same thing together, but they will be doing it differently. It's quite amazing to watch.
Elijah, my first born, is cautious and careful. He is very deliberate about all that he does. He's mindful of his actions, and remembers to pray for things even when I do not. He feels strength in numbers and comfort in having someone with him at all times. He still takes his sister with him to the bathroom even, where they will talk about books or movies while he's stinking up the house.
Chastity is independent. She doesn't mind company, but doesn't always require it. She is my little girl who likes to do big things, always behaving in ways much older than her age. She does not like to be told to be careful, or that she's too young or little to do something. Her response is almost always, "I can do it." or "I won't get hurt." She will pray, and she loves Jesus, but she doesn't like to be told when to do so. She's more about action, less about thought.
Today, I was doing some research for Easter basket gifts. I am trying to have an all handmade Easter this year, so I'm placing orders early and even working out craft trades with fellow crafty ladies who make things I cannot. I stumbled across a woman who makes hand painted, wooden peg dolls HERE, and she is so talented! I thought a fun and engaging way to teach Bible lessons with the kids would be to have some of these wooden figures painted is biblical characters, but I was really torn as to which ones to order...first, because I can't afford them all at once. ;-) Instead of stressing about it myself, I asked each child, separately, "What is your favorite Bible story?"
They answered without hesitation.
Elijah: Daniel and the lions!
Chastity: David and Goliath!
My quiet, mindful, prayerful son, who desires to be obedient, and who finds comfort in knowing God is with him, loves how Daniel was protected in the lion's den just for being obedient to the Lord.
My independent, adventurous daughter, who loves to take action rather than sit and wait, and who wants to do and be used for big things, loves how little David took action and was protected from a giant.
So I took a minute to think about my all time favorite story in the Bible. It was tough to decide, but I narrowed it down to two: Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers, and Jonah and the whale. In one story people Joseph loved and trusted sold him out of jealousy, BUT God protected him and used it for his and even his brother's ultimate good, saving them from starvation. In the other, Jonah refused to listen to God and thought he could run away. Once tossed from the ship, and expecting to die, God allowed a horrible thing (being swallowed by a whale) to happen to Jonah, to prevent certain drowning, but spared his life and had the whale spit him back out on dry land to continue doing what God had asked him to do in the first place.
In both stories there is the hope for second chances. Joseph didn't do anything wrong, but his horrible circumstances led him and his family to a better life. God not only saw him through it, but brought them all out of it stronger and brought the family back together in forgiveness which only comes from the Lord. Jonah was disobedient, and rebelliously decided he wasn't going to listen to God. It was a mistake, and God still saved his life, and allowed him to repent.
I have always been a firm believer in second chances. I believe some things have happened to me because I was being disobedient, and others because, though they were difficult at the time, they were and still are, leading me to something better. These stories give me hope, just as Daniel and David give Elijah and Chastity each hope.
Maybe their favorites will change still, and maybe mine will too, but I am enjoying watching them grow, and growing along with them in the Word of our Lord.
What Bible story or character gives you hope? If your kids are old enough, have this conversation with them as well. I think they understand things better than we realize.