The Eleventh Commandment

The clock strikes seven, the night is young and the stars are just starting to twinkle in the bright sky. A ball flies by, just missing my head, knocking over the Lego blocks. Benji’s mischievous face displays a guilty smile painted across his mouth. I almost run into Gabriella and Kayla who have decided to turn our living room into an Olympic gymnasium. After convincing them to head downstairs to the basement, I hear a booming voice over the intercom. It’s no one other than Jake, who practically is glued to the flat screen engaged in an intense battle against a kid from China. His request is merely for me to prepare dinner for him, which I agree to do only under the condition that he finishes his math assignment first; bargain sealed. I discover David pulling on Cassie’s tail and Naomi attempting to put her baked goods in the oven. I remove the dog from the kitchen, and place David in his high chair; chaos tapered. I invite my six siblings to come upstairs and sit at the table to eat the delectably warm chocolate chip cookies. By the time my parents come I have settled everything, all is calm.

Growing up as the eldest of seven children, I appreciate the important role I play in my family. I bear a great deal of responsibility, and at times I have to act as a second mother to my younger siblings. I have come to realize that in my role as junior parent not only am I maturing, but I am setting a path for my siblings to follow in school and in the community. Although burdensome at times, I can honestly say that I genuinely enjoy helping and spending time with my siblings. I guess it’s just part of my nature.

There is a hidden eleventh commandment; one must leave the world a better place for his or her children. Through my munificence with my siblings, I have continuously learned to develop a certain sensitivity, patience and compassion to others. My siblings and my parents have shaped and defined me as an individual, but I know that I am part of something greater, beyond myself, my school, my friends and my family. I am part of a greater whole, a world full of people with their own personalities and predilections, who each contribute and play their own part. In every aspect of my life, I am highly motivated to succeed not only to satisfy others, but to fulfill an internal desire to transform into the best version of myself, and to play my part to help others.

I brush my sister’s hair before bed. She cannot return the favor; I have cut my hair and donated it to locks of love for cancer children. During dinner, I may settle a quarrel between my sisters regarding who picks the night’s television program. In school I have honed this quality of arbitration. During a meeting for the school newspaper, two staff members argue over article selection; I intervene to adjudicate the disagreement. I can see the lawyer in me emerging.

In my role as senior sibling, I have discovered my potential to nurture, organize and lead. The lessons of my family will translate well in the real world. Sometimes I will be the guide, other times the guided, but I will never ignore the gifts of my rich upbringing.

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