12 Lessons Learnt From Being A Big Sister.

“Helping out” used to be the norm back in the day when our ancestors were more tribal and more connected to their immediate and (probably also) extended family.

The modern concept of “responsibility” means: gathering resources (making money) so that you can pay the bills that you have your own name on.

It usually means moving away from your family, preferably as far away as soon as possible, but not because you are starting your own tribe. It’s just vital for you to get away!

Back in older times responsibility meant: gather resources (hunting, foraging and/or farming), while there were other layers of responsibility that were acknowledged such as doing housework and looking after children among other things.

My situation as a teenager was dramatically different to that of my Norwegian peers since I actually had to help out with my younger siblings.

I did my part but felt miserable about missing out on what my friends were doing, in addition I also found gender-bias to be frustrating: namely that it was merely assumed that I as the oldest girl had to help out. When older women pointed out that this would be great experience for me when I one day started my own family, I was further angered at how it was just assumed that I would go along with gender-typical alignments.

When we moved to London and our Asian landlords assumed that I would be helping my mother in the kitchen I once again felt an inner dissonance, why did people just assume this?

Fast forward and I’ve realised a number of things:

  1. I didn’t really miss out on much during my teens.
  2. Whatever lessons I learnt from helping out; other people my own age simply had to learn later.
  3. A number of my old friends had to acknowledge that their parents had been right and that their own “rebellious” time as teenagers had neither empowered them nor benefited them long-term.
  4. While other people were hanging out and partying I acquired  proper skills.
  5. What I learnt from dealing with my family taught me things that I’m sure can be applicable to other situations, it even inspired me to write a children’s book.
  6. Helping out in the family is the norm in Africa, South America, The Middle East and (probably also)Asia and this is a benefit when it comes to having strong family units.
  7. It is much better to be part of a tribe (family) rather than family duties being outsourced to the impersonal State/government. It also saves taxpayer’s money to keep as much as possible within the family.
  8. I would much rather help out with stereo-typical female things rather than going to war or lifting insanely heavy objects.
  9. Stereotypical gender roles became stereotypical gender roles for a reason; and most people don’t even question it or think about it.
  10. The more people can do on their own and the less dependent they are on the supermarket-culture the more they enhance their chances of survival.
  11. I’m probably one of the most well-prepared Millennials in the Western world when it comes to managing and running a household properly due to my experience of co-running things with my mother. Not because I’m so awesome, but due to how uncommon it has become with traditional family structures and inter-family responsibilities. This is not a bad experience to have, especially when considering that the world is filled to the brim with other cultures where family is still seen as an important corner-stone.
  12. Nobody is too important to take out the trash. The Western world is failing due to an attitude problem and a value deficiency I’m sure!

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