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March 16, 2015

Baby Brother

When asked how I am doing, I often respond by saying, “my family is healthy, and my brother is happy, so I have no complaints.”  With the stresses of coursework it can be easy to get wound up from time to time, but I do my best to avoid that.  Last semester I successfully attempted to meditate each night for 30 consecutive days, and an integral part of my meditation was to think of five things I am happy about or grateful for.  Each night my family was involved in one of the five.  With four strong personalities between my mother, father, brother, and I, there is seldom a dull moment, and rarely silence.  My mother is a clinical psychologist, and my father a professor of philosophy, which in turn has led to the cultivation of expressing emotion and opinion in my brother and I, beginning at a very young age.  This skill has served me well, and a characteristic I owe endless thanks to my parents for.

As we have begun our Black History Month the messages of unity, pride, and appreciation, ring closest to me at this time.  With the current attention paid to black lives, on a national scale, the love for my younger brother has also come to the forefront of my attention.  I do not think my brother and I have ever been closer.  My brother is currently a senior in high school, going through a tiresome college application process.  Hopefully, his opportunities will be plentiful, which should create a difficult decision come Spring when he receives his admission decisions.  This process is exciting for me as well, as I wait anxiously to hear the decisions, it might even be more exciting for me than it is for him.

While I was in high school my mother repeatedly said that she wanted to raise two empathetic young men, and I believe my moving away spurted this characteristic.  The distance between my family and I, specifically with my brother has prompted an interesting change.  We were together for most of our schooling, and spent most of our free time together, but as he gets older and I do the same our conversations have changed.  Because of our constant presence in each other’s lives we did not feel the need to talk about our weeks, or events taking place.  We were aware due to our presence.  We now rely on each other’s perspective when talking.  I hear what goes on in his life through his interpretation, and vice versa.  This is not however a negative change, it is indeed an interesting change, and has definitely influenced my empathy.

I trust his interpretations and appreciate his honesty, making it all the easier to feel and understand his emotions, as he juggles his maturation, his interpersonal relationships, and his environment, all the while finishing his last semester of high school.



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In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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