What Our Siblings Teach Us

What Our Siblings Teach Us

This week’s inspiration comes from writer Alexandra Strickler. Monday, April 10, was National Siblings Day, a day to celebrate the role of siblings in our lives. In her article, 5 Unique Facts About Siblings That’ll Remind You Why You’re Lucky to Have Them, she states,

Your siblings literally shape who you are.

So true! Her words made me stop and think how different I would be if I did not have my siblings.

For starters, siblings define our place in the family. I am the oldest, becoming the mother-hen-of-the-bunch once my siblings were old enough to take direction. Rachel is the youngest, the “baby” who seemed to know how to get attention with her early morning wake-ups and sustain it with her non-stop chatter, Miss”Walkie-talkie,” as Dad used to call her. And Forest, the only boy, took a special pride in that role, often signing his notes to Mom, “your only begotten son.”

Whether we like it or not, our siblings’ interests become part of our life. I watched Forest’s football, baseball, and basketball games. I survived Rachel’s short-lived (thank goodness) effort in playing the trumpet and her obsession (that she still has) with kittens and cats. They both tolerated my brief but recital-filled pursuit of tap, jazz, and ballet and put up with my cartwheels and handstand practices in my even briefer stint as a cheerleader. Yep, we may not always love what our siblings do, but what we experience with them shapes us, often leaving deep imprints.

We also get to watch them cope. Whether they are the star or the bench-warmer, we have the chance to observe the outside and inside of the experience. How do they express their disappointments? Their joys? Their successes and failures affect us, too. Their battles become ours as we learn firsthand the value of support, encouragement, and resilience.

They guide us, like our parents, but at a more practical level. They show (or tease) us as to what to say, what not to say, and how to fit in. Their friends often become our friends. They show us in small, demonstrable ways how to belong.

As we grow older, siblings give us the chance to compare notes as we recall our memories. We discover that we often learned different things from the same experience. Even though we had the same parents, sometimes we realize we were parented differently. Then, perhaps after we have our own children, we begin to understand why.

National Siblings Day was a day of gratitude for me. I’m thankful I have my sister, Rachel, my sweet Sissy, who even though we live over 600 miles apart, shares her life with me daily (thank you, SnapChat!).

I’m also grateful I had a brother, Forest, who was with me only seventeen years. But as those precious years with him have become nearly four decades without him, I’ve come to appreciate his role in my life even more.

Indeed, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe reminds us so beautifully,

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. And, I’ll add, by what we’ve loved and lost.

How about you? Has your life been shaped by a sibling? Or maybe a close friend who was like a sibling to you? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

Much love,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Many thanks for your kind and generous donations for our Pathfinders for Autism Golf Tournament event. You can still contribute to Madison’s Banner to honor her or wish her a Happy 25th Birthday.

Contribute to Madison's Banner

Sign Up Hereif you’d like to receive Thoughtful Thursdays via email.