"Emma!" Mom walked into the living room carrying Emma's baby brother. "I need you to take care of Andy while I run to the store."
"Can't Landon do it?" Emma asked. "I want to finish this book I'm reading."
Mom frowned. "You used to love taking care of Andy," she said. "But lately I've noticed that whenever you have the chance to play with him or take him on a walk, you find something else to do instead. You haven't been paying much attention to him at all. What's going on?"
Emma took a deep breath. "It's just that ever since we found out he can't learn or develop the way other kids do, well--it's just not the same anymore. Andy's...well, he's different now."
"Emma," said Mom, "Andy hasn't changed at all. He's still the same sweet, giggly baby he always was. I think you're the one who's changed."
Emma's eyes widened. "Me?"
Mom nodded. "You treat Andy differently now that you know he faces challenges other kids don't. He's no different from how he was before--you just see him as different."
Emma was stunned. "I guess I have been treating him differently ever since we found out about his disability." She sighed. "I was so excited to teach him all the things a big sister should, but now I'm not sure he'll even be able to do a lot of those things. I wasn't sure I'd be able to help him or if he'd even need a big sister anymore."
"Of course he still needs you!" said Mom. "I know it's hard to find out Andy's life will be different from what we thought it would be, but he needs all of us--now more than ever. He still needs you to show him how to do things and be patient with him as he learns. And even though he may face challenges growing mentally, that doesn't affect his ability to grow spiritually. He needs you to show him God's love and encourage him to follow Jesus and grow in his faith."
Emma smiled and held out her arms. "Come here, Andy." She took Andy from Mom and buried her face in his neck. "I'm your big sister, and I'll always take care of you and help you grow." Agnes LivezeyHOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you helping others grow? Perhaps you have younger siblings or other kids in your life who look up to you and want to learn from you. It’s important to help them grow mentally by answering their questions and teaching them how to do things, but it’s even more important to help them grow spiritually. You can do that by praying for them, telling them about Jesus, and treating them with patience, kindness, and respect.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: 2 Peter 3:18 (KJV)
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.