Have you ever been in a family where you were the favorite son or daughter? Where it seemed that your mother or father or maybe both doted on you more than your siblings? It could be that you have experienced favoritism in your work environment where the boss has taken a liking to you and gives you the best jobs with the most rewards. It’s wonderful in many respects to be the favored one because with favoritism comes affirmation from the ones who are doting on you. Whatever you do there is positive affirmation and appreciation for your accomplishments.
Maybe you are the one who isn’t favored. You get all the grunt work and never get praised for what you do. You seem to be on the end of the stick when it comes to gifts or appreciation. No one seems to notice what you do, nor do they care.
It could be that you experienced both favoritism from one parent and rejection from the other parent. There is a family who had this dilemma in the bible. It’s the story of Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons (fraternal), Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 25:27 it says, “The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” The parents had their favorite children.
What do you think it did in the hearts and minds of the children knowing the other parent loved their sibling more than them? What does it do for a child’s esteem to know they are not loved or favored or valued? In the case of Esau, knowing that his mother didn’t love him the way she loved his brother, he made some unhealthy choices down the road. She helped Jacob steal the blessing from Isaac before he died that was to go to Esau. He was so angry that he began to think of how he might kill his brother (Gen. 27:42)
One of the conscious effects of not being favored or experiencing the blessing of a parent is to do the exact opposite of what they want us to do. In Esau’s case, he learned that his parents didn’t want the boys to marry a Canaanite woman. So what he did was to go and do exactly what his parents didn’t like and married Mahalath, a Canaanite woman. (Gen 28:8-9)
As parents when our children are doing the exact opposite of what we communicate as important in life, it may indicate that our children are not feeling valued or are not experiencing our blessing and have taken a path to go in the opposite direction of our desires to express their anger. This path can take many destructive choices. Rejection of our faith. Drugs. Smoking. Drinking. Flunking School.
On this journey, it’s important as a parent to seek to treat all of our children equally and give them equal value and equal blessings.