5 Reasons Why It's Better To Grow Up With Siblings Than Without

5 Reasons Why It's Better To Grow Up With Siblings Than Without

For my siblings Myranda and Cameron

If you grew up in a large family like I did, you’ve probably asked yourself at least a million times what it might have been like to be an only child. It’s hard to really appreciate the value of siblings when you’re young, and especially when you have more than one. I remember lots of times when I sat down and tried to imagine what it would have been like if it was just me, alone, with my parents all to myself. I pictured all the attention I would get, and all the toys I wouldn’t have to share. But in all that time plotting ways to force Santa to take away my siblings, instead of bringing me Christmas presents, I never thought about what I might be losing. Growing up with siblings has defined me in so many ways, here are just a few:

  • Having a sibling teaches you how to share
  • Having a sibling teaches you how to appreciate time alone
  • Having a sibling is its own type of war preparation
  • Having a sibling pushes you to find your own strengths
  • Having a sibling teaches you how to love

I was two years old when my little brother Cameron was born. I don’t remember much of the time when he came home to the time he could talk, but we were partners in crime for a while as toddlers. He played with me when I wanted to play dolls, and I played with him when he wanted to play video games. Having a little brother taught me to be patient. It taught me that playing with someone else was better than playing alone nine times out of ten.

Having my brother to play with was great; I didn’t have to go to school to find my friends because I had built in friend in the room next door. But sometimes being able to leave your friends at the end of the day is a good thing. Having a sibling taught me how to appreciate those quiet moments where I could reflect. I use to have a special spot where I could go and think, someplace I never shared with my brother. As an adult, I now realize how important is to give others their own space as well.

To put it frankly having siblings prepares you to both defend your honor, and attack to protect what’s yours. My older sister Myranda and I are three years apart and it was hard to get along sometimes. She would insist that things I knew to be mine were hers, and we had our fair share of fights defending the aforementioned items. One fight in particular, concerning a doll crib, can still create an argument. To keep the peace we have had to make such conversations our own private Switzerland. Having a sibling is like its own kind of warfare because it teaches you how to determine what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth being left unsaid.

My older sister Myranda is a strong, willful, confident person; and my younger brother Cameron is a social butterfly, the most liked in a crowd, and eager to put everyone at ease. Being caught between these two personality types growing up wasn’t always easy. Sometimes to be heard I have to be louder than both of them combined, which, believe me, was easier said than done. I like to think that I get most of my strength as a person today from them. In their own way, they made me become the kind of person who will fight to be heard.

People say a child’s first love is their parents, but I don’t think that’s true. I loved my parents, but it was my siblings who taught me the value of love to begin with. Loving someone is sharing a bathroom in the morning when you’re running late for school. It's helping get rid of the evidence together in the back yard when you smash your sister's artwork. Love is when your sister fights tooth and nail to defend you when your fingers broken at camp and the adults aren’t listening to you. Love is when your brother makes you feel beautiful even on your worst day and you feel ugly. Love is sharing a bunk bed with your sister who is glad you’re on the bottom because the monsters will eat you first. Love is anger, and love is tears, and most importantly love is forgiveness.

It was my siblings who taught me how to love, who taught me how to be strong. Because at the end of the day when Santa gave me rollerblades instead of making me an only child like I asked, I was thankful. I am so glad I was never an only child, because if there wasn’t a Myranda and a Cameron, there would be no Taylor.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Newton

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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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