7 Ways Parents Can Avoid Favoritism: Beware of Your Joseph

Does Favoritism Run in Your Family?

favoritismOne of the first things I’m asked when people find out I have five children is, “How do you do it?” Actually, God and my husband are the pillars that keep me standing from day-to-day. Having five children is a lot, and there are a lot of things to consider. But I can recall having my third child and really seeking God on how parenting would be possible. I was concerned with more than finances and material things. I wondered how I (as one person), would be able to mother them all equally.

First off, the fact that I have children is a miracle. During my teenage years, I can recall saying, “I will not have kids.” I knew that there was an enormous responsibility in caring for another human, and I didn’t want it. When I became a believer and then married, children were nowhere in my thoughts because doctors had determined that I couldn’t have them. It was something that was established even before I got married, but that did not stop my husband or his faith.

After two months of marriage, we conceived. Despite my will, doctors, and medications, I would become a mother.  I had no choice but to accept this assignment from God.

Parenting is an Assignment

favoritismAs preachers of the Gospel, my husband and I refuse to preach to others and the souls of our own children lack. They are the first members of our church.

Even if I wasn’t a preacher, I understand what it’s like to be affected by the actions and decisions of your parents. So, I know my lifestyle will affect them. Living a holy and righteous life before the Lord is not only something I do for myself – but for them as well. Being a godly example to the youth is valuable, especially considering the times in which we live. There are enough people promoting sin, so it is imperative that our children see that living for God is possible.

When I first became a mother to my son over nine years ago, I looked at love so differently. I never thought I could love another person so much. It wasn’t like any other love; it was something different. A love I still can’t describe. I knew there wasn’t anything, under God, that I wouldn’t do for my children. I had to seek God because I wanted so desperately to be a good mother.

Parental Truths

Let’s be honest with one another, parent to parent. Although we love our children, their innate personality given to them by God can cause our relationships to be tried. Some of our children can challenge our nerves more than others. I will be first to admit – I have that one child that now and again I lay across my bed and sarcastically tell God “…into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). On the other hand, this same child is the one who checks on me every day.

I sought God on how to make sure that despite their differences, I loved equally. I want to be the best mom I could be to all my children. It matters not that I won’t do everything right, but it’s in my heart to try. As I prayed about this, I heard the Lord tell me years ago “Beware of your Joseph.”

Israel Favored Joseph

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.”  – Genesis 37:3 (KJV)

When the Lord spoke this to me, I was stunned. The Spirit immediately sent me to the scripture above. One word came to me. Wow. If we ask God, He is faithful to deliver.  I didn’t want my children to grow up competing with one another. I wanted them to know that they have parents that love them the same, and they should love one another.

When you think of Joseph and his brothers, we remember his troubles. The Lord used Joseph’s story for His glory. Although Joseph had a hard life, he became the second in command of Egypt, saving his entire family. But when we think about what initiated Joseph’s trials, it goes back to the jealousy that his brothers had toward him because he was his father’s favorite.

Have you known a family that suffers from the effects of favoritism?

This story is indeed evidence of all things working together for good (Romans 8:28). But, one thing is for sure, not all stories of family division end like this. When examining this story, we see how Israel played a negative role in his children’s life.

As God brought that to my attention, I made sure to beware of my Joseph. Now you may wonder which of my children is my Joseph. I don’t have one. To ensure this, my husband and I put some things into practice that I will share with you.

No “Joseph” Allowed

After receiving this revelation years ago, my husband and I were determined to raise our children in the fairest way possible. We want our children to love God, people, their family, and one another. We don’t want them divided as we see so many siblings today.

Unfavored children can deal with a spirit of rejection, feeling like they are not loved by their parents in comparison to their sibling(s). Rejection is just one of the many consequences of favoritism. I am so thankful to God for revealing this to me. It can save a lot of families.

Favorite-proof your family.

So, here are some things that we practice. Maybe you can share some of your own:

  1. We pray and worship together. Even if it’s just singing or praying over our meal, we make sure to love God as a family. God is Lord in our home. We involve our children in our spiritual walk, teaching them the fundamental teachings of the Father, Jesus, and Holy Ghost.
  2. We practice family hugs. There will be times that I come home, and all the children are saying hello. I put everyone together to love on me and one another.
  3. Birthdays are the day we celebrate one another. We love to involve the children in the planning and celebration of their siblings. This helps them not to feel left out and learn what it’s like to give and celebrate others.
  4. We rotate individual time. Each child has their turn being with mommy and daddy. So, we may allow them to go to the store or run an errand. There is a set order, so no one feels left out.
  5. We don’t tolerate insults or family excommunication. For whatever reason, the first thing my kids say is, “I’m not your brother/sister anymore.” Not tolerated.
  6. When I go to the store, if I buy one person something, everyone gets something.
  7. We have a lot of family time. Whether it’s dinner, watching a movie, or going to the park, it’s imperative that we, as a family, love one another and spend time with one another.

SO, WHAT’S THE PLAY CALL?

Teammate, James 2:9 tells us that if we have the respect of people, we commit sin. It does not matter if that favoritism targets our own children. We have to love equally.

As we see in the Word, had not God intervened, Israel would have caused murder in his own home. You and I both do not want this for our family. Let us consider how we deal with our children. If you find that you have a Joseph, fix it. God is a redeemer of lost time (Joel 2:25).

If you have been affected by favoritism in the home, make sure that you forgive. I’ve learned long ago that some people do things not because they want to, but because they do not know any other way.

I pray that this helps you.

I love you all.

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