Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mama Always Said, “Be Nice to Your Siblings…”

Mama always said, “Be nice to your siblings, you never know when you won’t have them anymore.” I never listened to her. My brother and sister and I always spent a lot of time being really mean and cruel to each other. It was a sibling rivalry thing. We were all intelligent, sensitive and insecure. So we all were competing to be the best and none of us ever felt good enough, therefore we were just mean to each other.

Years later, as I returned to my home to after my brother's funeral, I was very mad at myself for not having been friends with my siblings longer. Mom was right. I will be saying the same thing to my kids, only I will add my little truth in this statement. "Mummy doesn't have her brother anymore and even though we fought when we were little, I would very much like to have him back to be nice to now."

When we became adults and after we all blazed our own individual trails in the world, we were finally able to become goods friends and respect each other. But we had already spent 80% of the time we knew each other being ugly. I try not to forget to tell my sister I love her, now. We never said that to each other when we were kids.

I read this article today on how to stop sibling rivalry. It had a lot of tips that I think will be very useful to any family. I began to tear up a little at the end as one of the experts pointed out, “’One thing you can't take away from your children is their shared history,’ says Faber. ‘No one else shared those years in that home with those parents. That's theirs forever. From that, they can form a very deep bond.’” It’s true, and one of the people I shared my childhood and deepest common bond with is not here anymore.

I think the aforementioned quote is one of the really important reasons people need to have siblings. It’s important to have someone to identify with. Being able to share what made you, you with another human being and having that person completely understand where you came from is so important in defining and understanding yourself.

I am setting out to create a deep, loving bond in my family. No one will stick their neck out for you like a family member. It’s really important to a person’s success to have the support of their family. Some have success in spite of their family, but it’s better to have your family to thank for it and share it. Because I am setting out to do this, I am sure it will all just backfire in my face. But with the Grace of God, and some of the tools in this article, hopefully I can change the past.


Kayleen said...

Awesome post. Thank you for reminding me of how important my siblings are. Sometimes it's hard with my brother and sister (funny we have the same family structure, are you the oldest?) because they are not religious like I am. I do know that my example of living a Christian life (and not just talking about it) is an important factor if I ever want to see my them have their own conversions. My brother even lives next door to us and I know we should make more of an effort to hang out and connect with each other.

Renee Clayton said...

No, I am the middle child. My siblings and I were all so different too--as in most families. But, at this point I don't think that it should matter how different you are as adults, it does a lot of good for your siblings to just call them and say, "I love you."

Anne said...

I totally understand what you mean about shared history! I have a friend who lost her father several years ago and she's an only child. Even before Momma died, I knew that I would treasure the memories of Momma I got to share with my siblings--and was even then reminiscing about with them--and I was so thankful that I had them. Now that she's gone, I am all the more thankful that my siblings and I have been able to form adult friendships and remain close. My sibs are some of my best friends :)

Miss you!

Michelle M. said...

Excellent post, and very true! I was fortunate to have a wonderful childhood friendship with my sister. But now we are not nearly as close as adults as we were as children. It is very sad. I love her terribly, but we are just coming from very different places right now and that has been a serious strain on our relationship.

My children, fortunately, get along very well. I hope it will stay that way!