I believe that every child, in every family has a special place within said family, regardless of birth order or family hierarchy. Each child’s worth to the family is immense but not greater than another’s. Each child deserves to have a unique life experience with each parent, sibling, and family member to draw upon in their memory and heart. Each child is an individual with distinctive characteristics, hopes, dreams, and personality that should be embraced, cherished and celebrated. Each child’s life brings a never before seen time and space to the world that cannot be duplicated or lumped with another’s for statistical purposes. I believe that each child’s potential cannot be measured in academic or artistic achievement alone. It must be discovered by the surrounding community of people and brought full bloom. A child’s individuality must not be dependent upon a parent’s favoritism or decided by an unseen committee. I believe that children, no matter their age, should not be left to fend for themselves but neither coddled. A child’s life links their parent’s past and their own future by intertwining the family in the present. A child’s place is to build upon their parents’ foundation as they blaze trails for their children’s future. I believe a child’s job is to do more than respect, honor and obey their parents or all quasi-versions, but to love, honor and learn form these sage advisors. Despite a parent’s unintentional habit of doting on their favorite(s) of their brood, parents tend to think the middle child is the one who is most relied upon to be able to handle themselves without a lot of necessary attention or seen as the glue to help bind the breadth of family personalities and dynamics. This forced behavior can lead to isolation and neglect of the fragile innermost feelings of that middle child, not to mention rebelliousness based on the learned behavior that you don’t need parent or sibling insight. Without a truly balanced life of perceived time, attention and love, the middle child begins to take their skewed vision of “normalcy” to the extreme when they join the larger society. This can lead to a plethora of professional and personal difficulties that may take valuable time and tremendous outreach to help correct. There may be no way to avoid nepotism within the family unit, but middle children may just be the ones who need that extra push, encouragement or moment to ensure that thy are not subjugated to caste-based citizenship within their own family. Not an unbalanced amount of attention, but middle children should serve as a parent’s reminder of the world’s rare composition and recognition of the many types of chords that must be struck – that may sound out of tune if hit on their own, but through harmony and practice make the most beautiful melodies that transcend time.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.