A boy who was sandwiched between sisters


1/15/1987 Like most other families, ours got together over the holidays to do a little celebrating. My older sister, Jane (Mrs Lee) Sorenson from Bennion, and my younger sister, Karen (Mrs. Lance) Schneider of Sandy, complained of the way I portrayed them in recent columns.

Once I stated that they picked up my wife Susan and went shopping at the local mall. When they returned, I saw smoke emerging from their purses from smoldering credit cards.

What is wrong with a statement like that? Apparently they got a little kidding from friends and neighbors. I admit, however, that it is not true they formed a “Shop ‘Till You Drop” club. Perhaps they should.

I have often tried to explain to Jane and Karen what it was like being the only boy with an older and younger sister. Did the many times they made me “play house” and dress up in Mom’s old clothes significantly affect my personality development? I sometimes wonder.

I’ve often tried, with limited success, to convince them that brothers and sisters do make a difference in each other’s growth and maturation. Furthermore, I believe that birth order does make a difference in character development. But my efforts around the dinner table to convince my two sisters of this have largely failed. They want proof.

Well, Jane and Karen, the time has come. In a recent “Marriage Encounter” magazine is an interesting article by Kathy Kelly, “Birth Order: Does It Matter?” She describes some of the characteristics of various children. I’m sitting here reading it now and trying to decide if these characteristics apply to my family.

According to the article, these are characteristics of the first child:

  1.  Tends to try to dominate and control others (Hmmmm..)
  2.  Needs to be “right” most of the time (Interesting..)
  3. Feels powerful, yet burdened with the responsibility for younger children. (Really..)
  4. Tends to develop a feeling of being a rather important individual.
  5.  Is active, purposeful organized.


The article cites the following characteristics of the third child:

1.     Once a decision has been made, it cannot be changed (that means stubborn)
2.     Has trouble making choices.
3.     Can identify and assess issues, but rarely takes a stand.
4.     Has high tolerance of ambiguity.
5.     Overlooks details.

You are probably wondering about the characteristics of the second child. Let’s see, where did the article go? It was here just a minute ago. Now I can’t find it. Maybe I can repeat them from memory.

As I remember, the second child was: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. That’s not exact, but they were something like that.

Help solve our family argument.



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