Most families have a similar dynamic when it comes to siblings. The oldest is “the leader,” the youngest is “the baby” and the middle child is “the peacemaker.” Generally speaking, of course. In many cases this is true…but there is another role in the dynamic that many people are overlooking, and one father pointed it out to his son with stunning clarity. Wow.
I’m the oldest of three kids. I’m older than my little brother by 2.5 years and my little sister by 9.5.
When I was about fourteen or so, arguing with my dad in private about something I don’t remember, he, being the second-oldest of eight kids, told me:
‘Any decision you make in this household, you make three times. Once when you make it, once when your brother makes the same decision after watching you do it, and once when your sister makes the same decision after watching you and your brother do it. How you treat your brother will tell him how he can treat your sister; and how you treat your sister tells her how she will expect to be treated for the rest of her life, even as far as her future boyfriends.’
That kinda shook me up and made me rethink my role as the oldest child; I started taking my responsibilities as the role model a lot more seriously after that. Even when you aren’t trying to actively influence those around you, those who look up to and respect you will still base their decisions, in part, on how they’ve seen you handle similar situations. If you break down and get stressed and angry when something inconvenient happens, they’ll feel better doing the same when something small happens to them. But if you keep your cool in a dire situation and under a lot of stress, it can inspire them to believe they can do the same.”
Even if you happen to be an only child, this advice is still something to consider. People are always watching you. They analyze your actions, they judge what you say and how you handle different situations. They make choices based on the ones you’ve made before them. While it would have been nice to hear back when we were still children, to a degree, we knew that there would be people looking up to us. Share this! More people need to hear it.
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