This past week, I’ve seen some great changes in my oldest son’s behavior. And the best part is, I didn’t have to tell him to do it.

John is almost 14, and this year at co-op he’s made a lot of new friends. Between his old friends, co-op friends, and scout friends, he’s been invited to a lot of events recently, from birthday parties to air soft parties to just hanging out for an afternoon. The result: his attention had often turned away from doing things with his siblings to preparing for the next get-together.

Part of me understood that this was a natural occurrence with growing up and moving into adolescence, but part of me was saddened by the change in the relationships, especially that with his six-year-old brother. “Play with Luke. He looks up to you,” I would say. John would be obedient, and do what I asked — but I felt discouraged that I even had to ask.

That is, until a couple of days ago. I was walking through the house, when John called me over. “Watch this, ” he said as Luke stood beside him, grinning from ear to ear. “This is ‘Man-Fighting.'” The two then began to wrestle on the floor, rolling around and punching each other. Finally Luke pinned John down and told him to say “uncle.”

Then, yesterday at the pool, Luke was swimming around in the shallow end by himself. John had been jumping and diving in the deep end, when suddenly he came up to Luke and started playing a game with him. Luke shrieked and laughed in delight the whole time.

Last night, Luke decided to make up an obstacle course in the yard. He had placed several objects in a line, such as pieces of wood, sticks, balls, etc., and the goal was to run and jump over them as quickly as possible. I did it once, my husband did it once, and then John came out; he did it over and over again with Luke, as they raced together, fell down together, and laughed together.

What caused the change? I’m not sure, but I’m so thankful for it. Instead of reminding John to be kind to Luke, I can just smile and tell him what a great job I think he’s doing. Must be a sign that he’s growing up.

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