You love to dress up. The problem here is that you also have an obscenely talented mother who loves to enable this fancy of yours. You have homemade costumes and bows aplenty to pair with your plastic jewelry and princess shoes. When you have friends come over, dress up is the thing to do.
Unfortunately, your brother has decided to join in the fun. Now, it doesn’t bother me a bit that Braxton occasionally wanders out of your room in heels, but you, on the other hand, you are not pleased with this. Like any other four year old, sharing is still something you’re working on. Even if it’s something that you’re not using at the moment, if your brother gets his hands on one of your toys, suddenly, that toy is the most important thing in the world to you. You must have it.
Or, more importantly, he cannot have it.
And so you get frustrated and angry, and your mom and I try to explain to you something that I hope you still recognize today, as you read this.
He’s only doing this because you do it.
Your brother loves you and he sees how much fun you’re having, so he wants to be a part of that. The difficult truth is that this doesn’t end. For many years, your siblings will look up to you. They will look to you to be their example of life, whether you want to be that example or not.
Ages ago, when I was just a boy, there was a famous professional basketball player named Charles Barkley (Sir Charles, if you please. No, he wasn’t knighted, that was just a nickname. I don’t know how he got it, just…look, he’s “Sir Charles”. Don’t argue with me, I’m your father). Sir Charles was very talented, but also had a bit of a temper. As kids, we thought it was so cool that he would occasionally throw the basketball out of anger or slam it against the ground to attempt to quiet his fury. I guess a lot of kids thought so, because eventually, this commercial came out:
It was popular, poignant, and outright false.
Barkley was a role model, whether he liked it or not, because people looked at him and wanted to take on his role, to be like him.
Audrey Rae, you are in the exact same predicament here. Like it or not, you are a role model. What you do will affect how Braxton and Charlotte act. Your choices will influence their choices. From this very moment, at four years old, until Braxton and Charlotte find a comfortable adult identity, your actions will be a model for them.
Is it fair? No. But it’s still true.
I’m not telling you this so that you have to walk on eggshells for your entire life. No matter what, you’re going to make mistakes and bad choices, it’s just a part of life. But with each choice you make, I hope that you carry with it the knowledge that your siblings may make the exact same choice. I have watched far too many teens make bad choices, only to have their younger sibling make the same bad choices, only to have their younger sibling make the same bad choices.
You mom and I will try and set precedent, try to be an example as much as we can, but being the eldest sibling gives you responsibility. Please carry that responsibility carefully. Never forget that you are a role model.
1 Corinthians 1:4
Christian, husband, father, and pastor. Also a proud and dedicated nerd. One of the dads at TheDadLetters.com and author of TheLivesIHaveLived.wordpress.com.