Change the Tone

For the past few days, my kids have been enjoying hacking around on an electronic keyboard that's on loan from my parents. The girls love to stand at the keyboard and pound out a "song." There's only one problem. My girls don't know how to play the keyboard.

What comes out of the keyboard is the most disharmonious sound you can hear. Several times this week, I've had to send them to do something else just to give my poor ears a rest.

Yet, yesterday, a friend of ours came over and began playing the keyboard. This talented musician created beautiful melodies on the same instrument that my girls used to create headache-inducing sound. The difference? Our friend knew which keys to use to make a harmonious sound.

I don't know about you, but sometimes our house sounds more like my girls playing the keyboard than it does like my friend who can make beautiful music. Mean words, sibling competition and frustrated parents make for a disharmonious tone in our home.

The key to creating harmony between siblings and even parents is the same as creating harmony on the keyboard -- training. Very few people can walk up to a musical instrument and start playing Mozart. They have to learn to play the instrument, usually starting with simple songs and scales.

Our kids also need to be taught to create a harmonious tone in our homes by showing respect for others and getting along with their siblings. Take steps to train your kids to live at peace with each other, so your home is a refuge for everyone who lives there.

Romans 12:18 says "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Helping our kids to understand that peace and harmony in our homes depends on their actions and choices puts us on the road to having that peace under our rooves.

  • If you have a piano or other instrument, show your kids the difference between a harmonious sound and a disharmonious sound. Ask them which one sounds better. Explain that bickering, arguing and disrespect are the equivalent of disharmonious sounds. Getting along and showing respect for others make a harmonious sound. Encourage your kids to create harmonious sounds in your home.
  • When your kids start arguing, calmly explain that you don't allow that behavior in your home, then escort them outside -- no matter the weather. Tell them they can come back in when they are going to contribute to harmony in the household.
  • If your kids can't solve a disagreement, don't hesitate to step in and teach them how to solve it. Too often, we simply solve the disagreement for our kids, which teaches them nothing. It's so much easier to simply send them to separate rooms or tell them to play something else than it is to solve the underlying issue. But teaching them to solve their problems means you won't have to step in as frequently. Offer your kids options for compromise and help them figure out which one to take.
  • When your kids start to bicker, give them a task to do together. I usually hand over the bathroom cleaning supplies when my kids start arguing with each other. Forcing them to work together to complete a task in a small space forces them to figure out how to work together.

A harmonious household is a peaceful place to live and creates a welcoming atmosphere. Everyone hits a discordant note at times, but the goal is to have your home be a place of refuge more often than it is a place of bickering. May your home be blessed this week with the sounds of harmony.