Thus far in our voyage through the waters of society and the family, we have looked at the family’s role as a whole: the reasons, both small and large, that society is essential for the benefit of society. Of course, there are numberless reasons why the family is critical to our civilization, but for now we are leaving those shores and journeying to a smaller island, in which we will consider the family in parts. By parts, I mean we will consider the family by each of its members. May we first consider the role of sister. As with my other posts, the sister’s role
will be based on my own experiences. If you have others, please share.
The Spirit of Contention
Experience 1: In my youth, I religiously went to bed by 9:30 pm. I must have had a phobia of fatigue or something, because what normal child would ever go to bed that early? Anyway, I shared a room with my older sister, Nikki. Night after night, after I had already been snuggled in my covers for at least half an hour, Nikki would barge into our room, flip on the light, and cry, “Jessica! Wake up! It’s time for school! You’ve overslept! Get up!” She apparently thought it was really funny to try to make me think it was the next morning, when in reality I still had eight hours to sleep. Never did this deceitful ploy work (well, maybe once or twice). Because she did this so often, I remember these encounters vividly from our childhood. I did not particularly enjoy them.
Experience 2: My sister and I never argued…well, except about clothes. In fact, it’s the only thing we ever argued about: if I could wear her clothes, if she could wear mine, why didn’t I ask if she had caught me wearing them without her knowledge. It was the main source of our contention. It was a blessing when I grew too tall to wear most of the things in her wardrobe. Because of its regularity, fighting about clothes is something I can recall vividly from my youth, just like my sister’s waking-me-up-for-school pranks. These roles—as mischief maker and wardrobe withholder—shaped had an influence on how I viewed my sister’s role. She was someone to roll my eyes at and also someone to fear.
However, as we grew older, the influence for good that Nikki was in my life has greatly eclipsed the bad, as you will see with the following experiences.
Love One Another
Experience 3: My sister always looked out for me. We had the opportunity to play volleyball together in high school. When some of the older players didn’t include us lowly freshman in their activities, my sister wielded her power as Senior captain and invited them to change.
Experience 4: My sister, who worked all through high school, would always treat us to shakes or hamburgers. She showed me what it meant to be generous.
Experience 5: Once when I was in elementary school, I got hurt on the playground. Fortunately, my sister was at recess at the time. She and her friends made sure I was okay. I don’t think I’ve ever told her, but I really appreciated that.
Experience 6: On my eighteenth birthday, Nikki insisted that I do something crazy. I am pretty reserved, so I didn’t really want to do anything out of the ordinary. But with seemingly no effort at all, she rounded up some friends, and we were headed to jump off a nearby bridge at midnight. My sister helped me break out of my shell.
Experience 7: I am most grateful for my sister, however, because of the trail she blazed in serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If she had not chosen to serve, I am not sure if I would have had the courage to do so. Serving a mission helped me become the person I had always wanted to become. It has given me the tools to know how to continue to reach my potential. I don’t know if I would have felt empowered enough to step so out of my comfort zone if it hadn’t been for my sister.
I am really grateful that I have a sister. Even though our relationship isn’t perfect, she has really changed me for the better. Her role has been to empower me, push me, and protect me. What a blessing to have a sister.
—Jessica Neilson, Stance