The whole time I was growing up, my parents had a mantra. I’m one of four kids, and my parents tried to convince us that we were best friends. It was a tough sell, especially since I’m the oldest by four years, and growing up my attitude was that my next closest sibling was a smart aleck boy, and the other two were big babies.
Ripped my painstakingly crafted paper flowers. “That’s your brother. You are best friends.”
Followed me around copying everything I did. “That’s your sister. You are best friends.”
Threw a temper tantrum and wouldn’t stop knocking into stuff in the basement family room. “That’s your brother. You are best friends.”
Their point was to instill in us an appreciation for each other. We weren’t going to get out of interacting with one another, and there was a long-range vision at work — they wanted us to see that we would be in each other’s lives for just that — our entire lives — and we should see one another for our fun individual personalities.
This may seem an obvious truth, but the idea of being friends rather than only siblings widens the scope of interactions. It creates an expectation of enjoyment and of knowing each other more than just an obligatory way (“We’ve got to see them at Thanksgiving…hrumph, huff, puff.”). You trust in friends, you rely on friends, you like your friends. And planting the idea that siblings can be friends as well as brother and sister, it communicates something about the kind of relationship my parents had with their siblings, as well as what they hoped for their own children.
Happily, they were right, and my brothers and my sister and I are friends. We do enjoy each other’s company and especially in this season of learning how to live without our Dad, we are the only ones who truly “get it” about how hard this is. They are dear to me.
Now that we all have children of our own, I wonder how that “you’re best friends” mantra will play out for them. Looks like I’ve got a way to go to help my own kids to appreciate one another…
Today’s post is a link up with Five Minute Friday and Kate Motaung. Write for five minutes, no editing, no worrying, then link it up. You can read more posts at her site.
Question for you: do you get along with your siblings? Nobody’s perfect, of course, but if you desire a closer relationship with a sibling, is there one step you could take to foster that friendship? Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments!