Carrying on the Family Name

Being in high school is a stressful thing for nearly any student. At this age we’re expected to maintain acceptable grades, get a job, participate in extracurricular activities, etc. Many teens already have a hard enough time managing that To Do List, but if you’re looking for a guaranteed way to pile on the stress, just go ahead and get yourself an older sibling who somehow handles it all a million times better than you!

Throughout my experience in my family, school, and life in general, the one thing I have learned is that a younger sibling never fails to receive the short end of the stick. In some cases, it may not be such a certain fate, but I was never so fortunate. Every year as I enter new classes I’m always pleased to hear each teacher with the usual “you’re Josh’s sister!” I may as well brand it on my forehead, as my name to many people is simply “Josh’s sister,” and sometimes it is permanently stuck as that. I am typically expected to perform as academically well as my older brother had, hold as much responsibility, behave as well, and the list goes on and on.

I know these remarks and expectations are hardly meant to put me down or tell me I am not doing well enough, but I can always feel that the notion is there. I realize that my brother and I are related, but we are definitely not even close to the same person, and that mistake should not be made. Teenagers are all in their prime time of self-loathing, and basically telling someone they need to live up to their older siblings legacy and nothing less is not really the right way to go about things.

While these expectations can provide a heavy burden for any younger sibling, it is not necessarily an entirely bad thing. The way I am expected to carry on the family name has possibly made me a better person in some aspects, pushing me to be better in order to achieve the satisfaction of my parents and teachers. Over the past year or so I feel I have gotten closer to the level of matureness and academic success that I need to be at, and that is really all that matters.

For all of you inadequate younger siblings out there, never feel as though you need to morph your goals or happiness to mislead others into believing you are the same as your older sibling. Push yourself to be better, or achieve more, but only in the direction that you desire. Your family name does not rule you (despite what everyone else is telling you.)