What Siblings Can Teach Us

What Siblings Can Teach Us

This week’s inspiration comes from writer Alexandra Strickler. Tuesday, 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 was the oldest, becoming the mother-hen of the bunch once my siblings were born and old enough to take direction. Rachel was the youngest, the “baby” who seemed to know how to get attention with her early morning wakeups and sustain it with her non-stop chatter, “walkie-talkie,” 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 an even briefer stint as a cheerleader. Yep, we may not always love what our siblings do, but we experience it with them and it 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 could not have written my book without her steadfast support (and memory collaboration!).

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. I hope I have honored his life through my book. I still miss him so.

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.

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.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

P.S. On the book front, so many fun things this week!

  • THIS JUST IN: For some reason, my ebook is now 55 cents on amazon! You can buy OR give as a gift. It is a good deal for you AND me so please buy and gift away. I have no idea how long it will last but am grateful and excited!
    Buy or Gift eBook – Rethinking Possible
  • Interviewed and featured as Writer of the Week by Universal by Design.
    Writer of the Week Interview
  • Enjoyed a lively meeting with the Corbett Road Book Club. What a thoughtful and caring group of women! They asked me to read a passage for them. I was so moved (as you’ll see in the Author’s Cut interview.) Loved your questions and comments. Thank you for having me!

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