As the only boy in my family, I always felt sorry for myself because I was surrounded by three sisters and no brothers. I love my sisters but truth be told as I was growing up I had very few commonalities with them. For example: I was not interested in spending time talking about boys; I never played with their dolls; I was never interested in wearing make-up, eye highlighter, or lipstick; it never bothered me if one of them snuck into my closet and took a shirt to wear to school; nor did their bossiness create problems for me because I never listened anyway.
I didn’t like being late for everything and it seemed that they never liked being on time and as a result I was usually late. Why you may wonder? The answer is simple, I had to wait for them to finish their hair or do their nails or whatever else sisters do.
My main reason for being frustrated was because I could read a clock while they were very good at ignoring it.
My mother was also frustrated with their tardiness habits especially always making the family late to church. In fact, one day she really tried to help my sisters break their pattern of constant tardiness by secretly setting the kitchen clock 15 minutes ahead. I remember the first day she did it. It was a Sunday, and everyone was getting ready for church and as the time to leave got closer I was ready to go and was just waiting on my sisters. Finally, they were ready, and the kitchen clock said we were 5 minutes late, but when we walked into church we were three minutes early and the congregation was shocked to see us on time.
After my sisters figured out how mom tricked them they adjusted their time management skills and returned to their old habits.
Another thing that drove me crazy with three sisters is that whenever family decisions were made I was always outvoted 3-1. Even if my parents voted it was either 4-2 or 5-1. Either way I lost! Always! I never learned to adjust my thinking process so I could be on the winning side until I finally decided to vote after my sisters and then I would vote with them. In many ways my life became much easier when I gave away my freedom and followed the family crowd. I finally learned where the power was. It rested with my sisters.
Today, I want to set the record straight about my sisters because I don’t want to give the impression that I am feeling sorry for myself nor do I want people think that I had a rotten childhood. I tell this story to share a perception that I had as a child and a somewhat ornery teenager.
To be honest I had three of the best sisters any brother could ever have. I must admit that in reality I probably caused them more grief and frustration than they deserved and I’m sure that each of them could tell tales about me that would be much worse and probably true but they won’t because they are ‘high class’. I have wonderful sisters and they really blessed my life. Today, I recognize that I am much happier and more blessed and grateful than I ever would have been with brothers.
The resiliency skill emphasized in this story is that we should be grateful for our family and learn to love them, help them, support them, accept them, and find ways to get along. The reality of my struggle was that I was probably selfish and difficult but Mom and Dad was able to maintain a family esprit de corps that taught us to solve our problems without contention. This is something we can all learn and teach to our children.
The challenges of parenthood are difficult enough but teaching our children to love and treat each other with respect sure makes our job much easier. Hundreds of parenting books have been written to guide us on our journey but perhaps the greatest skill of all to teach our children is RESPECT.
Sisters (I can speak with experience) are the best and I wouldn’t trade them!
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