The Sibling Effect
Posted by Bonita Jewel
I had been looking after a toddler a few times a week while her mother worked. She was close in age to my son, so it wasn’t a big deal. I would read to them together, take them to the library, put them down for naps, and they got along pretty well.
One week, this little girl’s older sister stayed with us as well while her mom worked. Suddenly, I noticed the toddler’s behavior change drastically.
I would announce, “Time for a diaper change,” or “Time for a nap,” and she would literally run for cover, hiding behind her sister. If I insisted, she would begin to cry her sister’s name, so she would come and “rescue” her. Needless to say, I took a back seat during that week.
I was worried about the following week, when her sister would no longer be around and it would be “just the three of us” again.
I needn’t have worries.
Once again, she was her independent and playful self, chasing my son around the room, playing puzzles with him and eagerly running to the table when I called, “Snack time!”
I don’t think she consciously altered her behavior when her sister was around. It was just what I have started to label “the sibling effect.”
When her older sibling was around, it was her hero, her champion, someone with whom she felt the safest and the most comfortable.
When we become God’s children, Jesus becomes our “big brother.” The effect should be somewhat the same as the sibling effect I noticed with that little girl.
We run to Him when things go wrong.
We look to Him for comfort and assistance.
We turn to Him when we’re in tears.
We let Him hold us and reassure us that everything is going to be okay.
After all, isn’t that what siblings are for?