The Reciprocation of Life Lessons Between Sisters

March 10, 2011
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One of the most influential people in my life is my sister. She has always been my best friend. When she was born, I no longer was an only child; I then became a big sister. Although I was only three-and-a-half years old when she was born, my life would never be the same. It placed me on the fast track to responsibility, and now I needed to set examples for her. Little did I know, she wasn’t just learning from me, I learned from her.

At a young age my sister taught me gentleness. I learned how to treat a baby not only with respect but with tenderness. One of the first times that I remember helping my mother with my baby sister was when I was about four years old. My sister had a swing that she loved playing in. She ate in it, and sometimes even slept in it. One day, I asked my momma if it would be okay if I pushed her so she would know what it feels like on a real swing. My mom explained to me that I needed to be extremely careful. She told me, “You can’t push her too hard, because she is smaller than you and you don’t want to hurt her.” I said, “Yes ma’am.” Rachel was so excited, and I pushed her for about half an hour. My momma kept a watchful eye on us and she would say, “Don’t push her too hard, Kristin,” and “Be careful.”

When I was about five years old, my sister taught me another valuable life lesson--patience. At the time, my favorite game to play was Hi-Oh Cherry O’s. This game was fairly simple: each player has a tree and they place about 20 small plastic cherries on their tree. Included with the game was a spinner numbered 1-7. The objective of the game is to spin the spinner and the number it lands on is the number of cherries that you “pick” off your tree. The first person to pick all of their cherries off their tree wins the game. The game was simple and the only skill set that one would need is the ability to count.

I was ecstatic to say that I was going to teach my sister, I explained the game to her, and she nodded as if she understood. “Okay,” I said, “Let’s start. I’ll go first.” I took my turn spinning and it landed on the four. “Okay, because it landed on the four I’m going to take four cherries off of my tree,” I said slowly, as if it helped her to understand. “Now it’s your turn. You spin.” I handed her the spinner, “Seven! Wow that’s the biggest number you can get. Now take seven cherries off of your tree.” My sister didn’t fully understand, so she took eleven cherries off of her tree. She was only about one-and-a-half, so she could not count; however, I didn’t understand how she didn’t know how to count. “Momma, Rachel isn’t playing right,” I whined.

“Well, how is she playing if she isn’t playing right?” my mother responded.

“She keeps on taking WAY too many cherries off of her tree.” My mom asked how was the game played and I explained it to her.

Mom laughed and said, “Baby, the reason she’s not playing right is because she doesn’t know how to count yet.” My mother told me that in order for Rachel to be able to play the game with me, I would first have to teach her how to count.

“Okay, I’ll try.” I responded. As I went back into the room, I was determined that I was going to teach my sister how to play this game, and if I needed to teach her how to count first, then that’s what’s I’ll do. I walked in, I took a deep breath, “Okay, Rachel. Momma said that in order for you to play, you have to learn how to count first, so I’m gonna teach you.”

“Okay!” she said as if someone had just offered her ice cream.

I walked over to where she was and sat down. “Okay Rachel, this is one cherry,” I showed her one cherry. “This is two cherries....” I sat there for about 45 minutes teaching my sister how to count to ten. After a while she started to catch on. I was so proud of myself for teaching my sister how to count, but what I didn’t know was that she actually taught me. A one-and-a-half-year-old taught me the valuable life lesson of patience, which I still use to this day.

As my sister and I grew older, we grew closer. Now she is 13 and I am 17, and we each have our own opinions on different topics. She has her own idiosyncrasies, as do I, but we have learned to work out our differences without harboring any animosity towards each other.
Although we do have the same opinions in general, we disagree on several issues like the rotation of household chores, our choices of music and the movies that we want to watch. For example, when my sister and I go to the movies we often share different opinions on what we want to go see. Sometimes she wants to see a drama, and I want to see an action movie, so we will “debate” about which movie we should go see. She will argue the reasons why we should go see her movie, and I would give the pros and cons to mine. I have learned from her to respect her opinions as she has learned from me to respect my mine. We also have bilaterally taught each other responsibility. As the older sibling, I have to set an example for my little sister whether it is not falling behind in schoolwork or the values of carrying oneself like a young lady.


My sister has definitely made my life more enjoyable. She has learned from my example, but she has taught me more than she’ll ever know. Rachel and I share some of the same interests, but we also have different opinions, but in everything that we come across, I know that we will always be able to learn from each other.





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