Unless you read the about page, you won’t know that I have a little sister who you can find on Instagram if you’re curious. Having a little sister was one of the greatest blessings in my life and I’m grateful to my parents for listening to me when I said I wanted a sister or brother. At 5 years apart, you might think that we would be too different to get along, and you’d be right…but you’d also be so very wrong. Having a little sister taught me so much and here’s why I think every boy needs a little sister…
Let’s start with the big one. Other than having someone to play with and giving my parents a break, an obvious benefit of having a sister is just having more love in your life. But it isn’t so simple. It’s a tough love. If you have siblings or have kids you’ll know that it’s a tough love. Sometimes there’s crazy fighting…and to top it it’s usually for no reason at all. This taught me that a lot of arguments are usually because of miscommunication and that once you realize this it’s easy to “forgive and forget” because there’s really nothing to back up the hate.
Love isn’t one sided. They say you don’t get to choose your family and that’s what’s so great. At times my sister hated me. She wanted nothing to do with me. Her only reasoning was that I smothered her with affection all the time (she was so cute + I was the one who had asked for a sibling). Eventually she warmed up to me, but I’ll never forget the love I’ve always had for her no matter what. It’s hard, but I loved her unconditionally…even when it seemed she didn’t love me back…which she just hid (I hope!).
SHE MADE ME WHO I AM
There are a lot of other lessons she taught me which has shaped me into becoming the person I am proud to be today.
HOW TO CARE
I learned how to care for someone. From sharing my food with her (giving her the best parts and eating the worst) to letting her sleep on my shoulder (and drool on it) in the back seat on roadtrips, I now know how beneficial it is to be able to care for someone. Not only did it make me a better, more caring person, it’s something that helped me land a wife. ;)
Listening to each others problems taught me to be empathetic. I’ve been told I’m a great listener…probably because I actually listen(?). I know some people will just hear, but not listen. I found that this is an advantage I also have when I’m photographing people. I’m able to have a deeper understanding of their lives and that breaks down the barriers necessary to get the very best photos out of them.
OMG, yes. If any of you have a sibling you can understand. I know it went both ways too! Living with someone so closely can be incredibly frustrating and patience is necessary to maintain your sanity.
The last one I’ll mention is strength. Now it may seem weird. You’re thinking…did he have her on her back while he did squats or did he just dead-lift her?
Well…actually…I did giver her piggy backs a lot of the time at the end of a long day when she was getting tired and sleepy. I even remember giving her one down a flight of steps when she graduated from university because she had been wearing heels and her feet hurt. But that’s not what I’m talking about!
She gave me the opportunity to be courageous, brave, and strong. I felt like I was her protector. It’s so easy to make mistakes as a kid, but I felt I was a role model for her and mistakes were not an option. Doing stupid stuff wasn’t an option for me. Sure, I made mistakes, but I was always acutely aware of the eyes that were watching my every step. I had to be strong in the decisions I made – to be a good person, to be brave, and to not give in to the pressures of peers and society.
I could go on forever on all the ways I’ve been shaped as a man and how I’m only a better person for having her in my life. And just like the photo I took of her, I’ve always got her back.
Let me know what your siblings taught you in the comments below!
Jonathan How is the photographer behind Made by Ten and calls Milton his home. He specialized in creating beautiful, creative portraits of real women. He uses photography (and this blog) to help them build confidence and love for themselves and creates artistic images for their homes and offices. You can see him driving around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada from portrait to fashion shoot and back again.