I have three kids and they’re really funny. Lucy, my youngest, is a tween trapped inside the body of a kindergartener. In her world, pink reigns supreme, and older brothers are fun to provoke. My middle guy, Jackson, is sensitive, loves it when you make learning into a game, and is prone to flights of fancy. My eldest daughter Yumi is a maker, and the unassigned leader. She’s had it in her mind for a while now that she’ll follow in her parents’ footsteps as an educator, so it’s not uncommon to see her teaching her younger siblings a thing or two.
It’s great to have a first born child who is such a great model and guiding light for the younger two. There have been so many habits of mind and practice that we essentially only had to teach to her; the other two simply expected to do the same. There is a downside, however.
We’ve noticed Yumi’s strong leadership skills occasionally preclude my middle child from using his own. Not long ago, we started to realize that it was only in times when Yumi was out of the house that Jackson would take much more of a mature stance with his younger sister Lucy. It’s almost as if he sees no need to enact his own leadership abilities when his older sis is around since they’re so accustomed to her guiding the ship. In this scenario, his younger sister is almost his competition. But when Yumi’s away? You’ll see Jackson organizing games to play, display a higher degree of patience with his little sister’s bizarre, kindergarten tantrums, and generally take the reins in a much more contented manner.
I wonder how often we don’t take the lead just because we’re so used to someone else doing so?