Younger siblings shape their older siblings in more ways than just shoring up their debate skills.
We might not ever admit it, but being the firstborn of the wolf pack tests our patience, teaches us about humility and, ultimately, prepares us to face a life that will give us a much harder time than fighting over who can borrow the car.
We'll always be there for the younger ones, and we wouldn't be who we are without them. This National Sibling Day, we think it's important to remember why:
1. Taking the blame for everything taught us that life isn't always fair, but to be humble anyway.
Even if your younger brother or sister started that fight first, in your parents' eyes, it doesn't matter. You were guilty. As frustrating as this was, it taught us firstborns that life isn't always fair, but you have to make do. Whether that's having humility or standing up for yourself. Either way, you learn what battles are worth fighting for, and when to pick yourself up and move on.
2. Having to always lead the pack taught us that when others need our help, we'll step up first.
You were the person your parents relied on to watch out for your sister(s) or brother(s) while at school or on the block. You were the one the little sibs turned to when the vase broke or when you all needed to convince your parents the family needed that puppy. Those "leadership" skills translate into life, and give the oldest kids the confidence they need to step up to the plate.
3. Gaining our parents' trust first taught us that responsibility is earned, not given.
One day we're arguing with our parents about staying out until 10:30 p.m. and the next, they're kissing us on the cheek, telling us to text them when we get home, whenever that is, because we're now an adult and life is crazy. Our siblings will complain that it's unfair, but you know it was a long road to get to this point of mutual trust and understanding between you and the 'rents. Being the first to go from child to adult makes that trust all the more clear.
4. Being the person our younger siblings turn to taught us how to gain someone's trust, and keep it sacred.
Whether they beg you not to rat them out about something stupid they did, or they come to you with significant other advice, oldest kids know that when people give them their trust, they not only earned it, but must keep it. We can slip up sometimes, but we'll always have your back.
5. Constantly fighting about swapped clothes or using the car in our youth taught us not to sweat to small stuff anymore.
You can't count how many arguments you've gotten into with your siblings about lost phone chargers, stolen clothes, or eaten snacks. But over time, and upon entering the real world, the little things begin to matter less. You've had your share fair of petty fights, and you know to save your energy for ones that really matter.
6. Having the younger ones look to us for advice taught us that we're more capable than we assumed.
Us older kids don't get the credit we deserve sometimes. We were the first to test our parents' parenting skills. We were the first ones our siblings turned to to understand how the world works. Because of that, we're much more capable than we think and we should own it.
7. Ultimately, having younger siblings taught us that home will never go away, because it's always where they are.
Those memories of family, growing up and everything in between will never truly fade away, because there are people who hold them in their heart, too. We can walk this earth confident that we will never lose sight of who we are, because our younger siblings will always be there (mentally or physically) to remind us.
Dedicated to Tyler, Chase and Jillian.
Cover image courtesy of Anny Bakhireva.