This I Believe

Matthew - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

When we are young, curiosity comes naturally. We all want to know why the sun shines or why the earth spins. In most families I’m sure that one night at the dinner table the awkward question comes up, “Mommy and daddy, where do babies come from?” As you stare at your parents with that innocent grin on your face they look at each other with fear and stutter a couple of times before answering. In my family, naturally I took one step further and asked the question, “Mommy and daddy, why is Jeff older then me?” After that question, the expressions of confusion and fear on my parent’s faces made me that I had power in the family relationship being the second child. I believe in that power.

Although being the second child usually means following in the footsteps of the older sibling, I believe that the older sibling has the tough job. He must carve a path for himself and figure out who he is. All the second child must do is follow. In other words, the first child is usually the guinea pig of the family. He will set the expectations for the second child by either getting good grades and having good relationships with the teachers, or failing all his classes and visiting the principal so many times they know each others middle names.

As a second child I also look up to my older brother. I always want to be like him. So I always try to dress like him and follow him around. I want to be exactly like him. This all backfired on me in July of 2001. As my brother and I were enjoying the freedoms of summer, we learned a very important lesson: the back yard is not a batting cage, and most of all, lava rocks aren’t makeshift baseballs. As we threw up rocks and swung at them trying to hit them over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard, I stared at my brother with such desire. I wanted to be tall and strong just like him. Suddenly, my dream turned around when he slugged one way over the fence and CRACK. He had hit the neighbor’s family room window and almost shattered it. As we ran inside to find a hiding place for the bats and for ourselves, our little minds couldn’t handle lying. So, we trudged upstairs and told our mother about the whole incident. I sat in a corner and watched my brother get scolded and grounded while I didn’t get punished at all. Even though I was swinging and hitting rocks as well, he was supposed to be setting a good example for me. I then realized that I could get away with lots of things without ever being punished. It was then that I started to believe in the power of being the second child.