If you had told me at 12 years old that I would be grateful for growing up with three little sisters, I would’ve forced you to share a room with all of them (like I had to) for a week and tell me that again.
My childhood was filled with pink surroundings, loud and girlish screams and fighting. I didn’t get along with my little sisters for a very, very long time—as one might expect.
We bickered, got physically violent a few times and didn’t speak to one another on more than one occasion.
Although I didn’t always get along with them, I am grateful for what my little sisters have taught me. They may not know it now, but they will someday.
Here are all the things my little sisters have taught me over the years that have molded me into a better person.
1. How to share
I guess a better word to use for this one instead of ‘teach’ would be ‘force’. They FORCE you to learn how to share your belongings because they just take them—without asking.
And, if you get mad and hunt them down, sit on them and smack them repeatedly until they give it back, you will only get grounded while they still get to wear your favorite purple sweater.
2. How to be responsible for someone besides myself
Little sisters really teach you the basics of being a mom. When you take care of them and give them what they need, you’ll learn very quickly how to deal with different situations.
You may even be roped into potty-training them, which is always useful for the future.
3. How to do hair
Your mom can’t sit and do both or all of your hair in the mornings. She needs to recruit a second-in-command and that’s when the biggest sister gets to play barbershop for the day.
You’ll learn how to create different updos, braids and even how to curl it correctly.
4. And makeup
I have done prom and hair makeup for all of my little sisters—back to back in some cases!—and, let me tell you, I have nearly perfected the combo.
I could even start up my own prom hair and makeup business! Being able to successfully do makeup in a glamorous way is definitely something I owe to my little sisters.
Patience is a virtue best taught by having multiple little sisters running around annoying the living heck out of you but you being unable to do anything about the situation.
But, that’s not the only reason they teach you this important lesson. You have to be patient when they’re little and don’t know as much as you, when they can’t rollerskate and you have to help them and even when they’re crying for no reason and you have to convince them that everything is okay.
Being a nice person doesn’t happen naturally. When you do something that hurts your little sister, you might feel guilty. This leads you to offer something nice in return for them silencing their tears before your mother comes yelling down the hall asking what happened.
You learn to be nice to them because being mean will only make certain matters worse.
7. To laugh at the goofy stuff
When you get older, and mature past the point of thinking farts are funny, your little sister will always be there to remind you that you can giggle at the goofy things in life. And that yes, a fart will always be funny when it sounds bizarre.
8. How to be little again
We all forget how to be little. Why would you want to be little again? Because it allows you the opportunity to connect with your younger, imaginative self.
With all the responsibilities and commitments you acquire as you grow up, it’s really hard to let go and enjoy the simple things like your little sister does.
They’ll always be a constant reminder of being small, carefree and little.
9. How to win gracefully
This is more of a forced behavior by your parents than it is something your little sister taught you. However, they could still technically be responsible.
If you’re playing a game and you end up winning and start gloating about it like a horrible person, odds are that your little sister is going to start crying in protest.
In comes the parents to set you straight and your own conscience can even help you realize that you need to win more gracefully.
10. How to stick up for someone else
Now, you probably did more picking on your little sister than sticking up for her, but it is your little sister who originally taught you how to stick up for and protect someone.
There’s always that one person who picks on them, and you’re the one to step in and set them straight. Nobody picks on your little sister but you.
11. How to be a role model
This is something that happens without your knowledge, but when you have someone following you around—admittedly annoying you—they tend to pick up on the things you do.
And by being around them a lot, you see that your actions are rubbing off on them. They’re the first people you set an example for. They taught you how to be a role model for someone and what that even is.
12. How to love someone unconditionally
This also happens without you even realizing it, but I truly believe that little sisters show you how to love unconditionally. Yes, you love your parents unconditionally from birth, but your little sisters come into your life afterwards and you have to learn to love them the way your naturally love your parents. That doesn’t come automatically.
You may joke all you want about how terrible and annoying your little sisters may have been growing up, but you should really be thanking them for all they have taught you.