I greet kids daily as they arrive at school. On occasion I ask a student how his or her older sibling is doing in high school or college. Almost always I get this strange look. To me, it says, “Why would I know anything about my sibling?”
I have always felt it was sad that kids could live in the same house day after day and know absolutely zero about what is going on in the other’s life.
Recently an article from the producer of the film Screenagers wrote about one possible explanation. When kids are so wrapped up in screen time they do not interact with one another. This is not simply an observation. It is documented fact that kids who are glued to video games or social media can exist next to a sibling and never interact other than to yell at each other when something annoying is done or said.
We certainly do not know the dynamics in every home, but we wonder if there are ever times where the family sits, maybe over a meal, and talks about what is going on. How calculus class is going. Who’s going to prom. Whether the soccer game was won or lost. And so on.
The other thing is that we frequently see is that once kids hit high school, church attendance with the family seems to become optional. Mom and dad are there. Younger siblings are, too. But high schooler is noticeably absent. Having a shared experience in church, talking about what the pastor said, or what a scripture passage meant may actually allow siblings to hear from one another.
The simple fact is that this kind of interaction will not happen without parental guidance. But it also cannot be forced. “Go talk to your brother!” will not be effective start. So maybe this is just a reminder to not let days, weeks and months go by without encouraging interaction between siblings. Trust me. They will be out the door to college or career before you know it.
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd
Note: Even after his brothers left him for dead, Joseph relished his reunion with them. I’ll bet our kids can talk with each other even if one hogs the computer or takes too long in the shower.
“He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.” Genesis 45:15