Brothers and sisters have their part in making the home happy. Yet they do not always live together in such a way as to make the music of the home a unified, glad, sweet song. Sometimes there is a lack of geniality in their dispositions. Then there often seems to be the feeling that home-affections do not need the care and effort that other friendships require. We cannot be brusque, curt, or rude with other people, and still expect them to bear patiently with us in spite of our unmannerly behavior. But we are sure of our home-friends (at least we let ourselves feel that way), and so we think that we do not need to be gentle and thoughtful towards them. Hence it comes to pass that in too many homes, brothers and sisters live together year after year under the same roof – mingling in the household affairs; and yet never forming close friendships, never knitting soul to soul, and living as total strangers to each other’s inner life. Thus many rich possibilities of close and holiest friendships are missed.
Another thing that too often mars the home-life of brothers and sisters is a spirit of dictation and criticism. Faults are seen, pointed out, and reproved – openly, and not in a gentle manner. What one does, the others are inclined to follow; and thus the habit grows, until little else but sharp speech and rude wrangling is heard in the home where the conversation might have so much of sweetness and profit in it!
The possibilities of happiness and blessing among brothers and sisters only can be experienced by cultivating the love which seeks not its own, which is not provoked, which bears and endures all things, and which never fails. Love’s first lesson is that of giving up one’s own way, denying one’s self, and suffering in silence. Where this lesson has been learned, or is being learned, in a household of young people; each thinks of giving to the others, and not of taking from them. Each one cultivates gentleness and kindness. The speech of the home grows quiet and tender, and is never loud nor angry. The Golden Rule is the law of each life. There is love, and that love reveals itself in a thousand little ways of courtesy and thoughtfulness – nameless things, but things that make up a home happiness upon which heaven’s angels look down with delight.
In what ways might you be able to do a better job of forming a closer relationship with your brothers and/or sisters, so that you are not living as if you were total strangers to each other’s inner life? How could your love for them better reveal itself in the numerous little opportunities of speaking and interacting with them on a day-to-day basis? Perhaps you and your siblings are grown up adults; but does that relieve you of the responsibility of putting more effort and care into your relationships with them, than you would do for your other friends? Pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon you, so that these rich possibilities of closest and holiest friendships may not be missed!
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