Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Things My Brother Taught Me: Happy Birthday, Bro!

Leslie & Evan (1985)
Today is my little brother's birthday, so I wanted to give a special shout out to him by highlighting "Things My Brother Taught Me". Most of you probably don't know my brother, but if you met him, you would see he's super chill (like the opposite of me) and knows how to make lemonade out of lemons (again, like the opposite of me). Although my laid back, optimistic, carefree brother may not have taught me how to sew a button or make a mean apple pie, he's taught me some invaluable life lessons:

It's far better to give than to receive. 


Since my brother was a preschooler, I remember his generous heart. My mom and dad would give him money for candy at the concession stand while we watched my older brother's [boring] tee-ball games. Most kids would totally cash that in for Air Heads, Jolly Ranchers, or bubble gum. Nope, my little bro would give his candy money away so other kids could enjoy something sweet at the concession stand. Now, I see his unselfish spirit on display by his commitment to his lifelong friends.

Don't be afraid to be yourself. 


God's sense of creativity shines through when he made my brother; he is like no one else I've ever met. He has a magnetic personality that people are drawn to (and often puzzled by;). He is unabashedly fearless to be himself in any and all situations. This is one quality I hope for my children. If only we could live boldly and unafraid for the things we believe and our interests. The sooner this lesson is learned, the better, I say. 


Always have fun! 


As a more tightly-wound, controlling person, my brother showed me that life is too short to try to plan and prepare for everything. Embrace the unknown and spontaneity. I can't think of a better example than the time I went to visit him in Hawaii when we were both in college over Thanksgiving break. (Yes, a midwestern boy going to the University of Hawaii for college -- just another way his spontaneity, fearlessness, and fun-loving spirit comes through!) We didn't plan for a single thing that week, and I've never been on a more fun trip!

Thanks, Little Bro, for all the intangible, invaluable lessons you've taught me. Happy birthday!