Growing up, in a family of six, with three brothers and being the youngest and only girl was tough, but worth it all. The bible even says in Proverbs 17:17 “…a brother is born for adversity.” But, I never realized when I was younger how much my brothers would ultimately shape my character. Through fishing, competing in sports, and being pushed to always do my best academically, I learned many of life’s lessons. I believe without my brothers’ impact in my life, I would not be the person I am today.
In my childhood, boyish activities were a vital part of my daily life. I learned to bait fishing hooks before I learned my times tables and I learned to ride a bicycle before I had one of my own. Hiking through the woods during summer vacation and building forts by the creek was a frequent adventure of ours. Trading baseball cards was also a hobby I picked up from the boys. Although because I wasn’t an expert in the subject and I often was cheated in the trades, I still enjoyed playing. I was the classical tomboy with three boys that had influence on me. Matt, Josh, and Ben have all had a part in treating me just like I was one of the guys by letting me compete in their games. They taught me that it’s possible for me to compete with guys and to not have gender play a role in how successful I am.
Sports have always been a large part of my family’s life. There was always a soccer game to play or a basketball game to watch in my household. Although my brothers were all years older than me, I still tried my best to compete with them. Whether it was soccer, snowball fights (from which I have scars from), or whiffle ball, there was always a competition to be a part of. Even if it was a rarity that I would win at anything, I still played. It taught me that games are about having fun, even if you’re not winning and that it takes teamwork to do well.
My family wasn’t only all about sports. Academics held a high place too. I had big shoes to fill coming into high school with brothers that had graduated with honors and 4.0s. I had to keep up with them in the grades race too. Whenever I needed someone to study with or to help me with a math problem I didn’t understand, they were always there to lend a hand in my schoolwork.
Not only did my brothers balance my interests, teach me sports, and push me academically, they were always there to keep my in my place. At my house, you can never get a big head because there’s always someone to put you back in your place.
As the last of my three brothers’ venture off to college, I understand how much I’m going to miss him. I guess what I’m trying to say is my family has shaped who I am today. They’ve made me the angriest I’ve ever been, sometimes the happiest, made me scream the loudest, and I know they have made me laugh the hardest. I believe your family makes you who you are.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.