There are frequent warnings about how expensive it is to have a child, but, in an article from the BBC, father-of-six and author Colin Brazier says there is strong evidence that belonging to a multi-child family has benefits. Having a sibling helps a child resist allergies, obesity, and depression. “Sibship” teaches how to take risks, language skills and build social capital.
A sibling, of course, is for life — not just for childhood. The policy debates about eldercare and its colossal mounting cost often ignore the importance of siblings. Brazier writes that older sisters who share caring for their parents, in particular, save governments millions of dollars.
With the rapid spread of the coronavirus, we’re learning just how indispensable extended families and “friends-as-family” are to society’s survival. Without the sharing of burdens, pooling of resources and emotional support that our familial relationships provide, our small, isolated households would have trouble weathering this catastrophe alone. We need others.
Many of us have no siblings (I lost my only sister ten years ago). Nearly one-third of older Americans and almost 40% of senior women live alone.
There are more American homes with pets than with kids.
Growing up in a small Baptist church in the Midwest, we referred to one another as Brother Carl and Sister Edna. I am grateful to have a spiritual family that includes YOU (especially in these days of isolation).
The words of a contemporary hymn ring more true than ever:
BROTHER, LET ME BE YOUR SERVANT,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey,
We are sisters on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.