To Celebrate National Siblings Day
My social network feeds are full of photos of families, all dressed up for Easter. Siblings all in a row, delighted or annoyed by their beautiful clothes, depending on the child’s perception of such things. It reminds me of such pictures with my own siblings.
Today is also National Siblings Day, celebrated each year on April 10th. I think this is perfect, as it is the anniversary of the birth of my younger sister, the last sibling to join us.
National Siblings Day was started by Claudia Evart in 1995 in order to “establish a national day of recognition for brothers and sisters. . . an uplifting celebration honoring people who have helped in our development and who have shaped our values, beliefs, and ideals.”
Many studies have been done to see if they can learn ways in which siblings are the same or different. In addition, they have searched for the ways our siblings effect us. Most of the results are not surprising. Here are a few benefits to being part of a sibling group.
Social and Life Skills
Siblings can help navigate the social settings children find themselves encountering. Having an older sister or brother at school can make all the difference to an uncertain child. Siblings watch each other interact and see what works and what doesn’t. Smart siblings don’t make the same mistakes! Siblings can also be helpful in learning life skills. Things like, “you snooze, you lose” can be one learned at the dinner table in a large family. Other nicer examples can be a sibling who shows you how to tie your shoe string, how to make cookies, or even how to approach your parent with a request.
Playmates and Babysitters
Siblings are your first playmates. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy. They can be the source of the greatest ideas for what to do when bored. They can also get you in a lot of trouble with those ideas. Older siblings can act as baby sitters. I’m not sure this should be called a benefit, at least not from the younger sibling’s viewpoint. And to be honest, it can be a difficult job for the older sibling if the younger ones don’t want to listen. But, it is definitely a win for the parents.
Not Just For Childhood
Siblings can be life-long friends. They are usually the family members who will be with you for the longest period of your life. In addition, they can provide you with more siblings (in-laws) and niblings (nieces and nephews). This enlarges your family circle and gives you a built in support group for all of the ups-and-downs of life. Should one of you have an only child, those cousins can come in super handy as substitute siblings.
Help as Parents Age
Dealing with the challenges of aging parents can be a small task, or an overwhelming one. If you have siblings, and you work well together, it can go much smoother. This was crucial for our family when Daddy had his strokes and required in-home extended care. It was a group effort. Some were more hands on, and others used their abilities to provide in other ways. It was a beautiful thing to behold in the midst of trying days, months, and years.
So, if you have siblings make sure they hear from you today and often. Build those relationships. Sometimes it does take effort, lots of grace, and determination to look past our individual personality traits, but in the end it is one of the most important things you can do to provide yourself with an invaluable support system.
Finally, I love you Cheryl Eggers, Clark Jones, and Vonda Jones. I thank God he gave you a sister like me. No wait. That wasn’t right. I thank God He gave ME siblings like YOU. Whew!