I don’t know a lot about normal family life, but in our family, we all seem to have roles. My older brother is expected to be the teacher. Whenever any of us does something obnoxious, he is inexplicably blamed for not teaching us better.

My little brother is expected to agree with everything my father does or says. Our family is a family of nerds. We play video games, we read books. We go camping occasionally and sometimes we run around aimlessly outside, but we aren’t particularly into sports and we definitely don’t lift weights for fun. Andrew is the exception of this. He doesn’t read a lot, he likes video games, but he does organized sports and he actually has normal friends that he hangs out with frequently. My father is much the same, though he does read a little and watch documentaries for fun. A lot of what my little brother says comes straight from my dad’s mouth.

My little sister has the role of the typical youngest child and suck-up. She does her chores just enough to be recognized for doing her chores more regularly than the rest of us. She also cries a lot. Everything is unfair to her.

My younger brother and sister do not get along at all. This is a definite understanding. The members of our family are genetically predisposed to being insufferable teases. My older brother and I didn’t get along particularly when we were younger either. However, we grew out of after a while. Neither of us had many friends, so we learned to get along. My younger brother and sister do not have this problem. They are both quite popular. It took me almost 10 years of public schooling to gain as many friends as they have after half that time. Because they don’t have to rely on each other for company, they haven’t learned to tolerate each other.

This brings me to my role. My role, for some reason, has always been “the peacemaker.”  Maybe they just run out of roles for middle children to play or something. Unfortunately for me, I am just as much a troublemaker as any of my siblings. I’m not an authority figure. I do not make peace.

Well, I should say that I don’t make peace the way my parents would like me to. When people think about peacemaking, they think about mediation and lowered voices. That’s what I like calling peaceful peacemaking.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience for peaceful peacemaking. When my little brother and sister are shouting at each other, I don’t think that standing to one side, softly asking them to stop is going to make any sort of impression. Perhaps it shows a lack of finesse to start shouting as well, but I can shout louder than either of them. I’m also bigger. It’s hard for them to shout at each other when I’m standing between them, also shouting. I don’t have to shout for long. I’m also intimidating enough to send them to different areas of the house.

They’re no longer fighting. They may be angry at each other and me, but they aren’t fighting. It seems like a solution to the problem. A temporary peace at least. Now I just have to figure out how to get them to respond to peaceful peacemaking. Peaceful peacemaking is a lot more effective than my methods, positive reinforcement versus negative and all that jazz.

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