How having siblings shape up our lives!
Eldest.. Middle One.. First Son.. Youngest..
Reading or recalling these words flood us with pictures and memories from our childhood, time spent with family; doesn’t it? There’s been much said and still being speculated about the birth order and how it shapes who you are. Putting all that aside, just growing up with siblings goes a long way to sketch who we are today.
We are four (04) siblings: eldest is my sister, older by two-years, very responsible and authoritative yet very sensitive and emotional. Today she’s an independent and successful working woman being an inspiration for many in society, living happily through the enchanted societal values. Next in line is me, the second born. They say and I quote: “First child eats dirt; you call the doctor. Second child eats dirt, you wonder if you need to feed him/her lunch” Ha! Got the picture I believe. An active, troublemaker and wild kid, perhaps my well-behaved elder sister gave mom the confidence to be a good mom while in my case she probably never wanted to judge other mothers. Anyhow, two daughters to the eldest son of the family and he wanted no more. He was over the moon and said his daughters are his kids/his world/his sons. Fate had it’s own plan and there came the elder monster (six years younger to me), followed by the disastrous one (younger by eight years). Today both are well-educated, working decently in their respective fields and settled in Sweden and USA respectively.
Bookended by an elder sister and two younger brothers, I can’t imagine what life would be as a single child. The ebbs and flows of growing up meant we were (and remain) very close to each other. More so, I’m grateful for the brothers; growing up may not have been half eventful without all the mischief and trouble.
In many ways, we four are quite similar; striking resemblance, mirror expressions, shared passion for learning, excursions and traveling, and/or the infamous family quirks.
Regardless of how close we are; we still have our own distinct personalities. We are OURSELVES – as everyone is born unique. This is where parenting by our folks made all the difference. They understood the contrast of our personalities - strengths, weaknesses, interests, inhibitions, passions and mindedness. Our parents embedded; confidence in our own capabilities, zeal to achieve our dreams, work hard but smart and always be mindful/try to make a difference in society. They instilled the belief that success in life always lie in pursuing our individual passions while staying true to our roots and heart.
Resultantly, we are our OWN person today; each one has taken different academic and career path - even though we share same values and lifestyle choices. Perhaps the parenting choice to reinforce each of their child’s uniqueness circumvented the competition that siblings often experience within them, rather helped in shaping us in following ways:
1. Learnt to be CARING
Being sisters and that too elder, it’s been natural to feel the urge to protect our little brothers whatever may be the situation. However, as young ones they also knew when we were putting up a brave face and they stood as our tough rock!
2. Learnt the art of CONFLICT Management
We fought A LOTTTT… the petty jabs and yelling matches were probably our first foray into conflict – and unless you eternally hate each other’s guts, conflict has a resolution. Reflecting upon it, makes me realise how much it has taught me with my professional life today.
3. Learnt the art of PATIENCE
As we had varied personalities, each has differing threshold for recreational/social acceptance. Intentionally; tease to annoy to irritate to poke - we learnt to be patient and/or at least appear to be calm in face of adversaries.
4. Learnt to take a JOKE
While joking about things, situations, people, circumstances etc., we as siblings not only shared some really great memories but also learnt various lessons. This in turn contributed in constructive/practical development of our sense of humour. For real, it’s only the siblings who can make you LEARN how to take a joke at your own expense!
5. Boosted each other’s SELF-ESTEEM
Siblings are brutal to one another, mocking and teasing relentlessly is one but if your eldest has your reins; its cruelty – however it did help in boosting our self-esteems remarkably.
Finally, siblings are the relations that matter the most and keep us rooted; a connection to our past - the countless mementos, cherished experiences and the strong sense of belonging. Reminiscing them revitalise us in our lows and always bring this BIG SMILE!