10 Lessons Siblings Teach You


  1. Nothing is sacred

That boy you like? That sweater you saved up for over a month to buy? The verbal tic you can’t seem to get over?

That boy will be told of your feelings. That sweater will be borrowed (without asking) and stained. That verbal tic will be mocked incessantly.

Welcome to having siblings.

2. You’re loved, no matter what

You can mess up, fall down, be ridiculous, date disastrous human beings, forget your manners, or accidentally give away the surprise party date to the surprise-ee.

You can forget your manners, call at 2am, text incessantly, poke them in the eyes on purpose because you’re trying to imitate a Three Stooges movie, forget their birthday, and still hold a grudge for the sweater of yours they ruined in 1996.

Doesn’t matter. Your brothers and sisters will still love you.

It’s in the contract.

3. Apologizing is always a good idea

Just because they love you doesn’t mean they always like you. Mom teaches you to apologize early on (cue the eye-rolling, “I’m SOH-rry, already”), but it isn’t until later you realize what a really good lesson that was.

You never want to leave a sibling relationship fractured by conflict for long. When you mess up, you learn to say you’re sorry.

Then hug it out.

4. Their successes are your successes

They have a baby first? You’re off the hook for another two years! They get that big promotion and move to the beach? You’ll get invited for spring break.

The only thing better than your own success is watching them find their own.

5. Their hurts are your hurts

I remember watching an Emergency Department nurse scrub gravel out of my sister’s face after a bicycle accident. I winced with every stroke of gauze.

When I went into labor with my firstborn, that same sister immediately got in her car and drove eight hours to see me. “I know what labor is like,” she said. “I didn’t want you to feel that without someone who knew how much it hurts.”

There’s no one you want good things for more than your sibling. When they suffer, you suffer, too.

6. There’s nothing better than a good, old fashioned nostalgia session

Remember all our My Little Pony toys? Uncle Bill’s crazy ear-hair? The neighbor kid who couldn’t handle being pushed off of the swim raft, so always sat alone on the shore, claiming to have a “water headache?”

Remember Mom cutting our bangs? How the heck did we live through THAT?

7. You would literally fight a bear for them

There has only been one moment in my entire life when I was ready to punch someone. Not simply mad. Not just irritated or upset. LITERALLY ready to punch this person, and it was because they did something utterly cruel to my sister.

My sister was in tears, and I found myself taking deep breaths so as to avoid doing something that might get me arrested.

My Dad walked in during the middle of this debacle, saw my face, and instantly escorted the troublemaker from the premises.

“I didn’t know what happened,” he said, “but I could tell by your face that it was serious and you weren’t backing down.”

I am not a violent person. I capture moths in our house and release them outside. I have pacifist leanings.


I don’t care if you’re a black bear. I will tear your face off and turn the rest of you into a rug.

8. They know how to push your buttons

My husband Daryl is a dignified guy. He has a PhD, serves as a pastor, and can quote Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, and nearly all the Bible at will.

Yet whenever we go see his brother Dave, the first thing Dave does is “dead-leg” Daryl by punching him in the thigh muscle so he crumples to the ground. I find this hysterical. Daryl, less so.

Once a sibling, always a sibling.

9. Distance doesn’t have to mean distant

Both of my sisters live in Minnesota. I envy them their shared geography. They see each other on weekends here and there, grab meals, and hang out together on the lake. I’m thousands of miles away. That stinks.

But when we are together, it’s like we were never apart. We pick right back up where we left off.

10. You will never love anyone quite like you love them

The sibling bond? It’s real.

There’s no love like the love of a sibling. They knew you when, they watched you grow, they love you still.

To my own dear sisters, Cait and Caroline: I love you guys. Thanks for being so awesome.

Also: don’t ever publicly post pictures of when I had a perm, or I’ll tell Mom.

5 thoughts on “10 Lessons Siblings Teach You

  1. Great post Courtney! It warms my heart to see my three beautiful daughters and all of your fabulous three husbands all being so kind and loving to each other. You all, and all of our perfect grandchildren are such a joy! What unexpected blessings!!! Dad


    1. Awww, thanks, Dad. I’m sure it comes as a surprise that we get along so well after all those childhood years of bickering! 😉


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