How a Family Dynamic Shifted for the Better

When a son enlisted in the military, all of a sudden his relationship with his brothers improved.

Posted in , Mar 26, 2018


You wouldn’t think that having one of our kids leave home made our family closer. But it did. When our oldest son enlisted in the military, he and his siblings were still teenagers. The three boys were just close enough in age that it seemed all they did was fight. Sometimes parenting felt more like refereeing.

But the day our oldest son left for boot camp, something changed.

The first thing I noticed was the attitude of our two youngest boys. They knew their older brother was doing dangerous—adult—things. Instead of his being the one who bossed them around and made their lives miserable, he immediately became precious to them.

The attitude of our older son toward his brothers changed as well. They were no longer irritants who intruded on his life, but brothers he cared for deeply.

This was reflected in an instant outpouring of letters and phone calls between the brothers. Even the two left at home dropped the antagonism toward each other. When the three re-united, there was encouragement and pride from the younger two, and a new kind of mentoring and protectiveness from the elder.

When our family was together, a remarkable peace and family comradery became the norm. As our children began to savor time with each other and with us, our family time because something we’d always wished for but had never before achieved.

Even now, with our sons grown and married, they still make a special effort to stay in close touch. Sometimes we don’t know what we have until we lose it—or come close to losing it. But God uses that shift in dynamics for good. 

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