Siblings. The words that our culture generally associates with them are “annoying," “obnoxious," and “a pain.” This connotation is unfortunate because our sisters and brothers are actually a huge blessing that God has seen fit to place into our lives. There are certainly times when I get frustrated with mine and wonder what it would have been like to be an only child, but I can honestly say that I am so incredibly fortunate to have them and I don’t know what I would do without them.
1. They’re friends.
My siblings are my best friends. They are the people I am the most comfortable around and have the most fun with. Many of my best memories involve them -- from the big things, like church events and swim meets, to the little things, like sledding, card games, and the infinite varieties of make-believe that we played when we were little.
2. They’re teachers.
Most of the important lessons that I’ve learned along the way have come from my siblings. They make yet another mess that they then fail to clean up, or break something that I valued -- I’m learning patience. They prove to be more capable in some area than I am -- I’m learning humility. They have a good attitude about something that I prefer to complain about -- I’m learning joy. They continue to love me despite my shortcomings -- I’m learning grace.
3. They’re mentors.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I’ve felt the most mature, the most responsible, simply because of my position as the oldest, and then realized just how immature and irresponsible I really am. I often pridefully assume that my siblings look up to me and that I am setting an example for them when the reality is, they are often setting an example for me. Whether it’s because of the way they treat the people around them, the growth that they exhibit in their spiritual lives, or the skills they have developed through perseverance, I constantly find myself looking up to them and being inspired by them.
4. They’re accountability partners.
They have all told me at some point that I was in the wrong. And while I never want to hear it, and rarely acknowledge the truth of what they are saying at the time, when I look back, I appreciate their honesty and their insight. They know my weaknesses and my flaws better than anyone, so when they call me out on something it is safe to assume that they are right about it.
5. They’re partners-in-crime.
Whenever I wanted to try something new but was too nervous to do it by myself, one of my siblings would do it with me. Whenever I didn’t have enough money to get my parents a birthday or Christmas gift, my siblings and I would team up. Whenever I was afraid to go out in the dark by myself to bring in the trash bins, I would drag a sibling with me. Whenever the lawn needed to be mowed or the leaves raked, my siblings and I would all do it together.
At the end of the day, I’m so thankful for my crazy siblings and am glad that I’m not an only child.