Being a Good Big Sister (and how I am trying)

Big Sister.
That is my name.
I love it to pieces. I would not trade anything in the world for the privilege of having five younger siblings.  They bring me joy and happiness and satisfaction and friendship.  We create things together and spend hours laughing and chatting.  It is wondrously fun and fulfilling.

But it’s also terribly hard.  Someone who’s never had a lot of younger siblings will never understand how difficult it is.

It is one thing to be a Big Sister, it’s an entirely different thing to be a good Big Sister.  But that is what I  want to be.  So I am going to fight to be one.

Being a good Big Sister requires:
▪    Patience
    ▪    Understanding
    ▪    Encouraging words
    ▪    Selflessness
    ▪    Sacrifice of my personal desires
▪    Willingness to let others  invade my space (at least some of the time.) (i.e. Touch my stuff, use my stuff, cuddle in my lap, sleep on my bed, jump on my back.)
▪    Listening. (My siblings are avid dreamers, most morning I am treated to the re-telling of dreams which I did not experience myself, which is sometimes quite interesting and entertaining, but at others, incredibly boringggggggg. But never tell them I said that. I do listen to them.)

▪    Being willing to clean up after them.

▪    And a million other things that only children never really have to do at the same level that Big Sisters have to.

Sooo….where should I begin if I want to become all of that?  Because I am determined to be a good sister or die trying. Well, as usual, the only place I should go is to my God and fling myself on His mercy, acknowledging that this is something I can’t do on my own.

I should also seek His word.

1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Psalm 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

When you have several human beings all growing and maturing at different rates (unless you all happen to be sextuplets or something, which I wager, based on the rarity of it, you’re not,) then you are going to have to invest a lot into keeping the spirit of unity purveying through out the house.  Plus, you have several different personalities and birth orders trying to live together. Homeschooling steps it up ten levels, because you are with each other all.the.time. This is a very good and healthy thing and I highly recommend it. Your brothers and sisters should be your best friends before anyone else is and being together gives you plenty of opportunities to build those relationships. But it takes effort.

I struggle with letting my siblings invade my space.  I want my things to be in order and to not be messed with.  Certainly, boundaries are good and I am by no means saying that you should always let your younger siblings play around with your important stuff, (especially expensive items). It the attitude that should be examined.

Philippians 2:2-8
Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, 
 did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
 but made himself nothing, 
taking the very nature of a servant, 
being made in human likeness. 
 And being found in appearance as a man, 
he humbled himself 
and became obedient to death— 
even death on a cross!

So picture this:
I walk into the room, and find my little sister playing around with my phone.  (which also happens to be my iPod and video camera and my only source of the internet when I’m out and about. This is a very important and expensive piece of equipment.)  So I COULD say,
“Hey, give that to me!” (Rip it out of her hands harshly.)  “You’re NOT aloud to use that without my permission, EVER!! I’m the Big Sister and you have to do what I say.”
She in turn, (probably because of my brilliant example) gets mad back. and calls me a mean name. I am by now completely frustrated. Upset at her for not obeying our the rule of not using my phone without permission, and upset with myself for blowing up. “Why did I just do that?” (Bang my head against the wall.)  Now she thinks that I’m a tyrant.   I can try to say sorry, but if I repeat this action too many times, do you think that she’s going to believe it?

OR

I walk into the room so see younger sister committing crime mentioned above, I take a deep breath and say in a calm and controlled voice, “Dearest sister, please do not use my phone without asking permission.  Mom and Dad expect me to keep track of it.  If you would like to use it, please come ask me nicely before hand, and I will consider letting you use it, okay?”

I think that I can safely say that I will get a better reaction from her with that response.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. 
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, 
   for anger resides in the lap of fools.
Proverbs 25:15
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, 
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

I don’t want to damage my siblings for life with my harsh tongue.  I don’t want them to grow up not wanting to spend time with me because all I do is get mad at them.  I want them to think of me as a loving, kind, interested-in-them sister.  I not there yet, but I am on the road toward it by the grace of God.

Another point, willingness to sacrifice my time.  Last night, after we had all retired to our room for the evening, (sharing a room with three sisters, another thing which requires fortitude of character,) my two youngest sisters asked me to play a game with them that I don’t particularly enjoy. At first I said no, but then quickly changed to yes, and said that we would play it on my bed. I wanted to be a good Big Sister, so I gave up some of my time, (I’m not normally a night person; right before I go to sleep is usually when I hole up on my bed and wind down for the night my doing my own thing and I don’t like to be bothered.) We had loads of fun!!  I’ll probably play the game again with them tonight. (and they better watch out, because I’m determined to win this time! 😉 )  Cherish the fun times with your family while they are young and tender, that way you can enjoy long lasting, deep friendships with them later.
I want to chose to invest in my siblings lives in more ways that I might normally.  It’s not that I haven’t in the past, it’s just that right now I am refreshing my commitment to being a good Big Sister.  To improve my influence (one of my favorite words) on their lives.  I want my threads in the embroider of their life to be smooth, beautiful strands, not twisted knots and broken yarn.  I’ll never be the person I want to be while on this earth, but by God’s grace I’m becoming more like Christ everyday.

~Mamie

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4 thoughts on “Being a Good Big Sister (and how I am trying)

  1. Thank you so much for posting this Mamie! I really enjoyed reading it and was so encouraged! Keep it up! Your Christlikeness is shining brightly!

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