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Family Ties

I have three children, all boys, and they have such different personalities it makes me wonder if somehow one or two of them got switched at birth in the hospital. How could the same two parents produce three completely different boys? 

My oldest son takes on the role of being in charge (or from his brothers’ point of view, bossy). He has a great sense of humor and even as a small child always got the joke. He is now starting to make plans for his future and taking it more seriously and has a strong sense of responsibility.

Although all my boys enjoy sports, my middle son is the epitome of a fanatic. From the time he knew how to turn on a TV, probably around age two, he turned it to Sports Center. At age fourteen, he can’t start his day without knowing all the scores and happenings prior to leaving the house. He is quiet in public but lets loose at home.

My youngest son could be described as happy-go-lucky. He is very social, a trait that sometimes gets him spoken to at school. He is the peacemaker. He will give in, give up his turn, or take the punishment just to keep his brothers from getting in trouble. A report by Jeffery Kluger in the October 2007 issue of Time Magazine supports this. It states, “personality tests show that while firstborns score especially well on the dimension of temperament known as conscientiousness—a sense of general responsibility and follow-through—later-borns score higher on what's known as agreeableness, or the simple ability to get along in the world. “

I have always been fascinated by studies that talk about birth order. In college, I remember having a class where the professor talked about no one belonging to the same family. You’d think that if you had the same parents and grew up in the same house then you were from the same exact family as your siblings. However, if you really think about it, it is entirely true that we all come from different families. For example, I have two brothers, one older and one younger and an older sister. My little brother, on the other hand, has two older sisters and an older brother. He has a different family experience. 

You may be asking what difference it makes. I especially like the concept because it makes us each unique. My boys will sometimes ask which one I like the best and I tell them they are all my favorite son. One is my favorite oldest son, one is the favorite middle son and one is my favorite youngest. I think we can all celebrate the unique roll we play in our families and the individual perspectives our children have finding their place in their own, unique family.

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