"I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:8
Now we know that Adam and Eve sinned and they were sent out of the Garden of Eden where the tree of life stayed, and now death was upon them. Eve had two children Cain and Abel. Abel was the keeper of sheep, and he offered God the first born of the flock in which God accepted. Cain worked on the ground, and he offered God the fruit in which God had no regard. However, he told Cain, if he did well, he will always be accepted. This wasn't good enough, so Cain killed his very own brother out of jealousy. When God asked him about it, he replied, "am I my brother's keeper?"
Many of us feel that we are "keepers" of our siblings. Especially if we are older siblings and feel our parents give us some responsibility for the younger siblings. They're not our kids, so why should we be responsible to take care of them as if they were our own? I can say from experience that I too give my 8 year old son a little more responsibility over my 5 year old daughter. Is this wrong? Some might say it's not fair because my son didn't ask for the role of being an older sibling, and I am the mom, not him. I agree to an extent, but the bible states that ALL should take care of each other. So is my son my daughter's keeper? Yes, he (as is she) they are supposed to be responsible for each other. They should also be happy to do so. It is a gift from God those children that have siblings. As a parent I now understand the importance of this gift. When my children fight, I no longer try to get them to stop just because they're annoying me with a petty issue, but try to explain to them by asking questions: "what if you didn't have your brother/sister to fight with?" "what would it be like if you were along?" "would it be as fun?"- I usually follow this question up with situations they wouldn't want to be alone, like starting a new school, etc.
Sibling rivalry is also a big issue in today's society. We need to teach our children that they all bring something different to the table. Just because they are siblings does not mean they are the same. God gave each person a talent or ability to use for good. If you have children that get little jealous of the other, try having them write a list of their talents and then a list of their sibling's talents. This way they can see what God has given them and appreciate it in the other person as well. Teach your children to love with their heart and accept each other as they are because God loves everyone just the same. Blessings, Andrea Grace