It’s A Family Affair

It struck me last week, as I was listening to a pre-teen client’s worries, that we all need a big sister. If you don’t have one, adopt one!

Whilst not having any biological sisters I think my teenage years were filled with “sisters” of all ages who helped me through the angst and pressure of school and growing pains.

The yard I kept my pony at was the main focal point of my social life, and when I started staying there without my Mum I rapidly became friends with the older girls. There were two groups, of which I was lucky enough to be included in both – although they probably saw me as the annoying sibling you had to look after in order to keep Mum quiet. The eldest girls were about four years older than me and I remember being dumb with awe at them. After all, they were going into sixth form whilst I was only entering year seven! I’m sure it was them who taught me about the birds and the bees …

The other group were only two years older than me and I remember them being far more fun loving and irresponsible, so I loved listening to stories about house parties.

These girls answered my question about life and horses, took me on hacks and generally helped me. Plus, I was ever so popular on my first day of comprehensive as I had friends in the older years! The popularity didn’t last long…

Anyway, as I grew up these older girls went off to uni, got boyfriends and dumped horses (not literally but you get my gist) and a new generation of girls came through. Here I rapidly took up the mantle of “big sister” and answered all their equine questions, academic queries, and consulted with them about boys.

This lasted the whole time I was at that yard, and I saw three generations of girls go grow up; going from the younger sister to the big sister and even mothering the youngest!

At the yard I did my apprenticeship at I similarly stepped into the role of big sister to the helpers and young liveries. As they’ve grown up and left school (now I feel old!) I’ve lost the tag of big sister and with my role as an instructor I’ve made the transition (hopefully) into an adult role, and am perceived as an adult, as opposed to a peer. This makes my job as teacher easier, but I still haven’t lost the job as confidant, as my young client reminded me last week as she unloaded her woes about school, pressure, hormones, stress and tiredness! And still, as try as I might, I still can’t solve the problems of the world. Hopefully I can put a positive spin on it though, and point her in the right direction to solving her problems.

Everyone needs a sister!

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