As parents it seems like it takes forever to find out if what we are endlessly teaching our children is having any impact. So often it seems “in one ear and out the other.” For some siblings, one of the problems that seems most protracted is sibling rivalry and bickering. Nothing seemed to bother my wife and me more than the sound of our daughters’ non-stop bickering. We thought it would never end and we shuddered to think of how they would view each other after they left home.
But Thursday night we had an eye-opening experience. It was the night of the adoption party for my foster granddaughter. For those who have been praying for this; yes, it finally happened. The state finally created a birth certificate, Pima County Court finally got a hearing scheduled, and the big day arrived. It was finally official!
But back up a bit. On Easter, a little mystery came to light. We confirmed with my daughter Abby that she was changing the spelling of her daughter’s first name from Taiyn to Tayin, so people could pronounce it more easily. And then she said, “We are changing her middle name, too.” We were all surprised and asked why and to what. (I mean, Elise is a pretty name — Tayin Elise Narter.)
“You’ll just have to wait,” Abby said. Hope said, “You mean you’re not even going to tell me?! I’m your sister.” Yep, Hope had to wait just like the rest of us.
So you can imagine that we were all on the edges of our seats during the ceremony waiting for the middle name “reveal.” Finally the judge acknowledged the re-spelling of the first name and got the confirmation from Matt and Abby. Then the judge read, “Now Tayin’s full name will be Tayin Hope Narter.”
An audible gasp went around the room and Hope was so touched she started crying. Four-year-old Tayin announced, “Now I’m Aunt Hope!”
Linda and I teared up as well. What a moving testimony to changed hearts on the part of two enemies! Hope and Abby used to long for day when they would be delivered from the torture of sharing a bedroom. We used to pray for peace between the two of them and give them all of the sound training we could muster. Stubbornly, the bickering lasted throughout their growing up years.
We used the best techniques we could learn from others: chanting non-stop “Friends will come and go, but sisters are forever.” Enforcing the “Look each other in the eye, apologize, say I forgive you and I love you, and then hug each other.” routine over and over again.
We were consistent. We said these things until we were blue in the face. Yet, upon graduation from high school, it was clear that it was “to no avail.”
But then we had this heart-warming time at the adoption party. And just this last year I found out that Hope and Abby are the best of friends who talk to each other on the phone at least every.single.day.
So yes, Mom and Dad cried when our little granddaughter’s full legal name was announced, “Tayin Hope Narter.”
How long does it take to see the fruit of your training? Hope and Abby are 42 and 38 respectively. It took this long for this lesson to take root and grow.
Wait for it… My life verse is Galatians 6:9, “Do not grow weary of well doing; for in due season you shall reap, if you don’t lose heart.”
We can only do our part. We can only provide the training. God brings the fruit.
God’s best, Christopher