In my last blog, I wrote about the challenges you potentially face with your parents. In this blog, I want to talk about similiar challenges with your siblings. Do you have one or two or more? If so, you could probably write a book about the sibling challenges you have experienced. I know I can.
I have two brothers—one older, one younger. We love one another like crazy. There were also times growing up when we would fight like crazy. I wish someone had told me then what I’m about to tell you now. So listen up!
My brother Kent is one year older than me. I idolized him in high school. (Still kind of do today!) Kent was the coolest guy on campus. Everyone knew him and looked up to him. He lettered in every sport our school offered from his freshman through senior year. He was senior class VP and voted “Mr. RHS” upon graduation. I still remember the day my parents dropped him off at college. It was only an hour away from our home, but to me it was like he was moving halfway around the world. I cried. A lot.
The reality that things would never be the same again hit me pretty hard in those first few weeks after he left. You may not view your sibling(s) exactly the same as I do mine. But sooner rather than later, you will no longer share a home with your sibling. Sooner rather than later, you will not have the privilege of seeing your sibling every day. Sooner rather than later, you and your sibling will most likely have your own homes, with your own spouse and children, living your own lives. Even if you are fortunate enough to live your adult life in the same city as a sibling, your relationship will never again be as it is right now. Make the most of the time while you are still sharing a home with your sibling. Even if your relationship with your sibling is rocky, mark my words: there will come a time later in life when you miss what you now have with your sibling.
So, things may not be exactly “cool” between you and a brother or sister, but remember this: This is your family! No family is perfect. Every family deals with funk and family conflicts will never completely disappear. You won’t always agree with your family members’ choices, convictions, or lifestyles. You need to know that’s okay. There’s no one on this planet exactly like you, so there’s no one you’re going to agree with 100 percent of the time.
Keep in mind that in a moment of conflict, rather than fighting to the very end to “win,” no matter how angry you may be, you need to be a sibling who’s willing to walk away. Love can overcome any conflict. Strive to be a peacemaker in your house. In family life, disagreeing is inevitable. But as you’re working to become a better person, strive to be a brother and a son who promotes love, not anger.
The next time an argument begins to brew, regardless of whose fault you think it is, step back and take a breath. Most likely the thing that’s got you upset will be long forgotten before you know it. Also, not fighting to be the one who makes his/her argument first will give you a chance to listen to someone else. Lines of communication break down because everyone’s more concerned about their own agendas than actually trying to find common ground. More times than not, we fight because no one can button their lips long enough to listen.
It takes a real man or woman to realize that arguing will never resolve a conflict. This is one of the few times in life when it’s okay for you to be a slacker. When in a fight, rather than “fighting to the death,” just cut them a little slack. Sure, this will mean that you probably won’t win the fight. But, you will win…you’ll win a relationship with the people you love the most…that will continue to get better. Now, that’s a fight worth losing!