My daughter Jadzia is turning 18 in less than two weeks. However, her birthday celebration has in a way started last Friday with a trip to the US provided by her sister and her husband. Tara is the oldest of my six children and has always taken her role of eldest sibling seriously. When she was growing up she was like a second mother to them even as far as making sure rules were enforced and kept. She was also a big believer in fairness. At times she backed up her mom and at other times you would see her playing defending lawyer for any one of her siblings.
I love it when my children are together reminiscing, laughing and getting along. Of course, they didn’t always get along. There has been at times teasing, biting, scratching, swearing, shouting, doors slamming, cold-shouldering, grabbing, kicking, hair-pulling and lots of arguing! Sometimes the other five children engage in some bad behaviour too. Yet they all manage to grow up with a strong bond with one another. A big part of the reason for this is that Tara first modelled it and then some of the others followed suit. Sibling bond is more than obligation. It’s a love choice. They have spend enough time with each other to affect the shape of each other. They have learned patience and that a soft answer can dispel wrath. They have learned that an act of kindness gains appreciation and an act of kindness in return. They have learned that their witch-y sister and their beastly brother is not all that bad. They have developed skills in dealing with one another and learning from one another. When they were young they didn’t dare speak of fondness for their siblings but as they grew, one by one started to speak of love for their siblings…not in their presence at first but in time they begin to declare it to them. Some of my children have already done this already. Some are not there yet. However, gone are the days when one grabs a toy from the other while commanding them to ‘Share!’ Gone too are grudges. Now they sit with each and tell the stories of the wrongs done and laugh at them because all is forgiven.
As I ponder on this it brings me to thoughts about my past post on When We Become Real and causes me to wonder what is real within a family. Tara is being a real sister. Being Jadzia’s biological sister doesn’t make her a real sister. She has earned that badge by her unconditional love and acts of kindness. If Tara had been unforgiving and unloving or wanted nothing to do with her siblings, you couldn’t say she was a ‘real’ sister to them. Likewise, if she was their step-sister or if they had all been adopted but they had a strong loving bond for one another, then they have the right to be called “REAL brother” or “REAL sister”. I have also seen Tara be a ‘real’ sister to her friend Jennifer who she grew up with. I have seen Tara’s love stretch and extend to her sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws. Being a sister or brother doesn’t have to stop and start at home. It can be expansive! As part of the human race, we can look at one another as family. We can call each other brother, sister, mother, father. We won’t be given these titles unless we have earned them. In Mathew 12; 47-48 Someone said to Jesus, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!…Jesus of course meant no disrespect to His own mother and brothers but was trying to make the point of the strong family bond that can exist within all our relationships even those outside our family.
How do you start to form real sibling relationships? Hopefully, you start at home if you are able to. You start by focusing your attention on the good in others. You accept them for who they are. You appreciate them and accept whatever good they offer you whether it be a simple compliment or love. You align your personality with your spirit so that you begin to view them in truth. If you choose to view only their fallibilities, their mistakes, their short-comings, then you will not be able to see their true selves nor their potentialities and you place obstacles between you so that no possibility of unconditional love can grow.
So I ask you to think about this…Are you being real? Are you being a real brother or sister to your siblings and to others? Who are your real brothers? Who are your real sisters? Who has earned that title in your heart? Have you told them? What a blessing you give them by simply telling them how you truly feel about them!