Friday, September 28, 2007

Siblings: Older Brothers

From Anna:

Older brothers can be a girl's best protector, adviser and playmate all rolled into one. They're often the one a sister will look to as a model for what a guy is supposed to be, and the brother will in return warn others, "You'd better not mess with my sister!" Yet, there can also be some misunderstanding and conflict when the girl wonders just why the boy behaves as he does or vice-versa. "Can't the other think logically as I do?" may be the cry of annoyance. However, boys and girls are different, as God made them to be, and the closest relationships between brothers and sisters can be as a result of working with the differences.

So, what are some ways that we sisters can work to be closer to our older brothers?

Love him
It goes without saying that love has to be the foundation for any close relationship. Any relationship will have its conflicts, but "love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). We have to be wiling to overlook the other's failures and love self-sacrificially.

Communicate with him
Sometimes your older brother will just want to talk. Sometimes it will be the other way around, and you'll be the one wanting to do the talking. =) Brothers enjoy hearing what's on their little sister's heart and when they have something to share, they'll want to tell someone. Be that someone who is there for him with a listening ear and cheerful work. Be there to encourage him when he's feeling discouraged and to rejoice with him when he's accomplished something great. Often, a brother will look to a sister for affirmation or consolation. Be available.

Do special things for him
Brothers enjoy being appreciated. Tell and show them that they are. A younger sister's admiration can really grow a guy up and make him want to be worthy of it. Show your brother that you appreciate him in big or small ways.
  • Bake him treats. What brother doesn't enjoy something sweet? Plus, it's a great way for you to try out your cooking skills - brothers are usually pretty forgiving in this area, as long as the food is edible. =)
  • Write him notes of encouragement. A letter or card from his sister will brighten his day and assure him that you care.
  • Do or help him with a chore. There's a wonderful feeling when you go to do a job and find out that someone has completed it for you!
  • Bring him things. A fresh baked cookie and a glass of milk will be a great pick-me-up in the afternoon, and a cool glass of ice water is so refreshing after working outside. Cultivating a servant's heart will help you in all of life.
And there's so much more you could do!

Be interested in him
Show an interest or a least a willingness to listen to things that matter to him. Countless times Elijah has exuberantly come to me with exciting news about some computer something or other. Most of the time I barely understand half of the words (computer jargon!) but I at least try to be excited for him and attempt to figure it out. Learn about whatever your brother's interest may be so that you can at least know a little about his passion.

Trust him
Trust your brother. When he knows his little sister is looking up to him, he's more careful of what he does. It also helps him "man up" and take responsibility. Also, let him lead; ask his advice. As girls, it's natural for us to run the house and be little mommas, planning things out. However, choose to ask your brother's opinion and let him take responsibility. One day he'll be leading his family and you want him to be prepared! Many people complain that guys just don't want to lead or take initiative these days. Maybe that's because they're not used to it or have had everything done for them. Yes, sometimes it does seem as though we could do something better, but letting our brother do it will help him in the long run.

Build him up
Sisters have a great ability to build their brothers up or tear them down. Choose to build him up. Don't make derogatory comments about him among your friends or in his company. Instead, praise his admirable qualities to others and let him hear how much you think he's special. It will make him want to be worthy of the praise and cause him to respect you. Men need respect, so start practicing doing it by respecting your brothers.

From Miriam:

I have three older brothers, and each one has been different. I don't think there is much I can add to this post. Anna has written about the same as what I would write, probably more. :)

I will definitely reiterate what she said about communicating with him and also building him up. Those are so important. I regret to say that my communication with my brothers growing up consisted mostly of arguing with them, and because of this, there are relationship problems that we've had to fix (and sometimes still do). To be honest, I wasn't sure at first about writing about my siblings. I mean, I love them, but this is forcing me to honest with myself. So, I have decided to do it. Now I'm looking forward to sharing posts about each of my siblings. Especially these three special boys who I've shared adventures with, played numerous imaginative games with, and have many special memories about.

We don't have all the answers, but we hope these ideas have helped you. We don't always practice what we preach (as our brothers would be able to attest), but, like you we're trying to grow to be better sisters.

What about you? What ways have you found to help your relationship with your older brother(s)?


Luke said...

Not having any brothers at all, I have no suggestions about how to live with them. However, all that you girls have written is true with how we deal with anybody. You are also preparing yourselves for how you will interact with your future husbands (LORD willing) by how you treat, speak to, and interact with your brothers.

love ya,

Elijah Lofgren said...

Great Post! Thanks for sharing it! Sisters are indeed great!

Anna Joy said...

;) I wouldn't trade my four older brothers for anything in the world...although as I tell them often it's really not at all fair of them to be so awesome....the poor guy I marry is going to have some awfully high standards to try and meet! ;)

Lindsey said...

I don't have any real brothers, (it's just my younger sister and I) but I have a few guys that I've "adopted"
Another thing, sort of off topic, (but not really) I've found that treating all the guys you know as brothers really helps you not to give pieces of your heart away! Also, it makes me feel more comfortable around guys, because I know I have the right heart towards them. Anyway, I know that's not where you were going with this, Sorry!


Bonnie said...

Thank you very much for this post! I needed to read it :)

Rebekah S. said...

What a wonderful post, girls!!! I'm in the process of creating a Biblical womanhood/daughterhood/femininity website, including articles on how to treat siblings. Would you allow me to add your article to my site once it's up and running? I would love to have your wonderful article on there. Please e-mail me and let me know. I have no older brothers (wish I did) but nonetheless I really benefited from your great post!

Thanks so much for it!


So true! I agree!