You have heard the expression that the best things in life are free? The best “freebie” was learning from growing up as the youngest of two older brothers. Below are five most important things I learned from being a sibling.
- 1. You don’t have to pretend to be anything other than yourself
I was a tomboy as a little girl; I think the reason behind that was that I wanted to be like my older brothers. After a while I realized I didn’t like anything so “pro-guy” and wanted to play with my Barbie doll, wear pink, and have tea parties. Eventually brothers occasionally joined me for tea parties. I learned that my brothers (and others) can accept me I if didn’t do all of the things they liked to do.
- 2. You can learn from another person’s mistakes
When my older brother Ray went to high school, he hung out with all the bad kids because he thought they were cool and popular. Those bad kids got him in a lot of trouble and made him unpopular with other kids he liked in school. Watching him get into trouble taught me that I did not have to be a bad a kid in order to be liked by others.
- 3. Value everyone’s feelings
Before we ate dinner, my mother would randomly assign my siblings or me to say grace for the meal. Often times, we would fumble through the words and pray for everyone we knew, including the family dog. Those prayer moments taught me to listen carefully to the thoughts and concerns of others.
- 4. You can only shift the blame…temporarily
I had a nasty habit of not rinsing away the toothpaste film down the sink. One day I started to use a different colored toothpaste than my brothers. My mother saw the film from my toothpaste in the sink and instantly discovered I was the one who did not rinse the sink properly. I learned the truth would always come out eventually.
- 5. Its okay to be vulnerable
Sometimes when I had a bad day at school I would purposely avoid talking with my family. They would ask me a question and I would reply with one-word answers like ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ One day my brother Eddie told me that he would love me even if I never said another word. That experience taught me to speak up and say something even when I am sad or upset.