Category Archives: friends

We Are The Lucky Ones

Siblings by Dasilva

Question: Who’s lucky?

Answer: Anyone who is a sibling.

The premise here is that you’re one lucky person if you have one or some siblings in your life. So, do you count your blessings? It’s not too late to appreciate your good fortune.

Of course, this is just my opinion and my experience speaking.

For some other thoughts about siblings, I’ve included some references to a couple of interesting articles and excerpts on this topic.

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Siblings by the US Army

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NPR had this segment called: Your Adult Siblings May Be The Secret To A Long, Happy Life. (Selected excerpts below).

When psychologists study siblings, they usually study children, emphasizing sibling rivalry and the fact that brothers and sisters refine their social maneuvering skills on one another. The adult sibling relationship has only sporadically been the subject of attention. Yet we’re tethered to our brothers and sisters as adults far longer than we are as children; our sibling relationships, in fact, are the longest-lasting family ties we have.

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They learn from the friction between them, too, as they fight for their parents’ attention. Mild conflict between brothers and sisters teaches them how to interact with peers, co-workers and friends for the rest of their lives.

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The benefits can carry into old age. The literature on sibling relationships shows that during middle age and old age, indicators of well-being — mood, health, morale, stress, depression, loneliness, life satisfaction — are tied to how you feel about your brothers and sisters.

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Siblings by Jayaprakash

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And this op-ed piece was published in the NY Times: The Gift of Siblings. (Selected excerpts below).

“Siblings are the only relatives, and perhaps the only people you’ll ever know, who are with you through the entire arc of your life”, the writer Jeffrey Kluger observed to Salon in 2011, the year his book “The Sibling Effect” was published. “Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form”.

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They’re less tailored fits than friends are. But in a family that’s succeeded at closeness, they’re more natural, better harbors. As Colt observed of his siblings, and it’s true of mine as well, they aren’t people he would have likely made an effort to know or spend time with if he’d met them at school, say, or at work. And yet a reunion with them thrills him more than a reunion with friends, who don’t make him feel that he’s “a part of a larger quilt,” he said. His brother do.

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Siblings Kennedy

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There’s also an interesting OSU paper on the topic: Adult Sibling Relationships. (Selected excerpts below).

One researcher, Gold (1989 as cited in Cicirelli, 1995), described five types of sibling relationships based on their involvement with each other. They included “the intimate, the congenial, the loyal, the apathetic, and the hostile” (p. 59).

Intimate siblings are especially close and extremely devoted. They value their relationship above all others. Congenial siblings are friends. They are close and caring but place a higher value on their marriage and parent-child relationships. Loyal siblings base their relationship on their common family history. They maintain regular, periodic contact, participate in family gatherings, and support each other during times of crisis. Apathetic siblings feel indifferent toward each other. They rarely are in contact. Hostile sibling relationships are based on anger, resentment, and very negative feelings.

In Gold’s sample, 14 percent of sibling relationships were intimate, 30 percent loyal, 34 percent congenial, 11 percent apathetic, and 11 percent hostile. 

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Siblings by Waddington

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Siblings, like people, come in all shapes and sizes.

I count myself as one of the very lucky ones. I have just one brother who I love dearly. I realize that my life would be quite empty without this relationship.  [For those without any natural siblings, I feel sure you can adopt a close friend or relative to play the part so don’t be too gloomy].

And yet people do such stupid things to destroy these precious sibling relationships – usually and unfortunately in the name of inheritance. We see and hear about these situations all too often.  

The destructive behavior is usually influenced by other close relatives,  sometimes spouses, other times their own children and still other times their in laws.

So dumb! They inevitably end up paying a big price for it. 

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siblings old picture

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Although my brother and I went off in different directions during childhood – different schools in different locations – there was never a time when I did not feel close to him and utterly glad that he was there, somewhere, watching over his younger sister. During adulthood, our bonds have only strengthened, helped by the fact that we both eventually migrated West.

For some strange reason, when we look at siblings, we tend to notice differences more than similarities. Isn’t it weird how sibling comparisons are so inevitable? And then it’s as if similarities should be expected and par for the course because similar genes dictate that. And differences are somehow fascinating and to be examined. Strange, given how unique each of us is.

There is a world of difference between my brother and I,  but that only makes me appreciate him more. To top it off, my sis-in-law is an angel.

Me, lucky? Yep! Counting my blessings? You betcha.

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Siblings by Knipe

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It begs the question (to me at least) – what on earth can come between us ever, that we cannot overcome? I’ve thought about this because I’ve seen so many messes around. And I will tell you what. Absolutely nothing. And the reason I’m so confident is because I believe that this outcome is totally in my control. This is not a result. It’s a choice.

And for all those poor souls who don’t feel the same way, who can blame others or credit the circumstances for breaking that sibling bond or have to deal with “bad eggs”, not only have you forfeited (or been forced to forfeit) a relationship that is precious (a gift!), you deserve all the sympathy you can get. You’re missing out on something great.

I don’t believe anything I have said about siblings is  breaking news. I do believe that many of us don’t appreciate our sibling(s) mindfully enough, often enough. Yet, we truly are the lucky ones.

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Siblings by Wileveranfne

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And finally, as I look ahead, I hope for nothing more than that strong bond continuing for my own kids as their grow and live their varied lives – may you each have the good sense to always appreciate and count your lucky stars for your siblings!

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Siblings by Sund

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“My siblings have certainly seen me at my worst, and I’ve seen them at theirs. No one has bolted. It’s as if we signed some contract long ago, before we were even aware of what we were getting into, and over time gained the wisdom to see that we hadn’t been duped. We’d been graced: with a center of gravity; with an audience that never averts its gaze and doesn’t stint on applause. For each of us, a new home, a new relationship or a newborn was never quite real until the rest of us had been ushered in to the front row”.

 Excerpt from The Gift of Siblings, NY Times

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Photo Credits:

All pictures of siblings of varied shapes and sizes from different time periods, sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

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That’s Unfair. That’s Life.

Have you ever been unfairly judged or unjustly accused? About something that you had nothing to do with?

I’m sure you have. Or else you are not human. Or you have relationships that are not with humans. 🙂 It happens some time or the other to every one of us. And at times, you are likely doing the judging.

We’ve all seen some extreme cases of this occurence. Someone is sent to prison and years later is found to be innocent. Tragic really because that person’s precious years and life have vanished. And then you see someone like Mandela (no, not Morgan Freeman!) and what he accomplished while in prison and it’s like, wow!

But most people don’t deal with such extremes or excesses.

Frequently these “unfair things” are insignificant and don’t occupy a lot of space in your brain. But then something might have happened to you ages ago.   It’s not even that consequential. But you still remember  it clear as day today.  Why?

Picture this.

young girl in KG

There’s a young child in kindergarten. Each evening when this 5 year old goes home, she and her other 5 year old friends meet with a tutor, someone who ensures that their homework is getting done.  

Something strange is afoot though. Every once in a while, very mysteriously, this girl’s school books disappear right on time…that is, when it’s time to do her homework.  The kid claims that she doesn’t have a clue where her books are.  But the tutor is convinced that she is hiding them herself because she doesn’t want to have anything to do with homework that day. So she berates, reprimands, shouts at the kid. To no avail.  The child cries but the teacher is convinced that it’s all an act and those are simply crocodile tears. The child says she has no idea where her books are. But the teacher doesn’t believe her. Especially when the books appear just as mysteriously when it’s time for school the next day.

Then one day.

Lo and behold, the child “finds” one of her hidden books. She is thrilled. She comes running to the teacher, smiling and can’t wait to let her know about this wonderful find! She shows the book to her and tells her where she found it.

What does the teacher say?

Of course, you found it. You are the one who hid it there!  

And it gets worse. Just for finding the book and bringing it to her, she is sent off to stand in the corner facing the wall as punishment. With her friends as witnesses. The ultimate humiliation. 

Fast forward to many years later, the kids in question are all in their late teens, they’ve reunited with the tutor and are sitting around chatting about the good old days. Somehow, the topic of the hidden books in kindergarten comes up – remember when…? One of  the friends pipes up and says, you know, I’m the one who hid your books.  Everyone is having a good laugh. Meanwhile, I’m thinking – 

WHAT?

To this day, that hurts. Not so much that a friend hid my books – she probably had a good reason to do so. Maybe I did something to anger or annoy her, and she wanted to retaliate. Or she was having a string of bad days. It could have been anything. Kids will be kids.

What hurts is that the tutor did not believe me. She had made up her mind and nothing I said or did convinced her.

It’s funny what you remember when you grow up, isn’t it?

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