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Listen to McKenzie and Michael tell the story of their relationship and how she PURSUED him even in the face of daily rejection.

 

This month we are talking about Siblings as Best Friends. At Crazy Cool Family, one of our core beliefs is that siblings can and should be best friends for life. The Mannings have fought to unite each sibling for their entire lives, and we have been rewarded with children who truly love each other, look out for each other, and want to spend time together.

 

One of the aspects of teaching your children to be best friends is teaching the older siblings to PURSUE the younger siblings. At this point, most parents look at us like we are crazy? “What? I’m happy if my older kid is not locking their younger sibling out of their room! What do you mean to ‘pursue?’”

Yet we have seen it happen in all of our older siblings. Each one is intentional about pursuing the ones below them, and this pursuit has had a dramatic impact on our family. Starting with Mollie, our oldest, who has become somewhat of a matriarch of the family, striving to get everyone together and build closeness, all the way to Maddox, our sixth child, who is taking care of his little brother McCade and becoming best friends with him since they were little. (Check out our podcast with Maddox and McCade called “What Does An Awesome Sibling Relationship Look Like?“)

Today, McKenzie and Michael tell the story of their relationship and how she PURSUED him even in the face of daily rejection. I tell anyone who will listen that McKenzie should be in the Sibling Hall of Fame for the way she pursued Michael during a difficult time in his life.

During his seventh- and eighth-grade years, he was struggling to find his direction in life. McKenzie was three grades ahead of him – a significant gap – with her own life and her own friends. But she saw Michael struggling with his faith and with the resulting anger and frustration typical of young teenagers.

We shared with McKenzie some of the struggles Michael was going through, and we invited her into the situation. We asked her to pray with us and to also pray about how she could use her influence as an older sister walking with God to help Michael find his way.

Well, did she ever help!! For months – not days and weeks, but months – she would daily walk by his room and invite him into her life with her friends. Catch that! She was a junior in high school, and she was inviting him to spend time with her and her friends!

And yet Michael, for months, just sat there at his Xbox and told her he was not interested. She PURSUED and PURSUED, until one day he relented and decided to go with her. This connection started him on a life-transformation to a connection with Jesus, an amazing connection with McKenzie, and a desire to pursue his younger brothers.

Parents, your older kids can be your best weapon against all that the enemy wants to throw at your younger siblings! Instead of yelling at them when they fight, we show our older kids how God has entrusted them as caretakers of the hearts of their younger siblings, and how important they are in the fight for those hearts! We need their help and want to count on them to make an incredible difference in their lives.

When we equip our children with the concept of Romans 14:19 (“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual building up”), they will become empowered to pursue their siblings with an incredible passion, purpose, and understanding. Deep down, God has instilled in them a love for their younger siblings and a love for family. It is our job as parents to tap into their God-given desires to bring out the best in them and the best in the sibling relationships!

 

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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