My brother, Stellen and I. (the better looking one is me; not hard to distinguish)
Whenever I watch kids interacting with each other in a family, I always admire those older siblings who can get their younger brothers and sisters to obey their instructions. I remember struggling even to convince my younger brothers to address me with the ‘brother’ title instead of calling me by my first name.
Stellen, my second brother beat me in almost all accounts as a kid (nothing changed); Chinese chess, basketball, table tennis, you name it. It is therefore not surprising that I couldn’t command true respect from him when I was perceived a ‘loser’ growing up. Looking back, that was probably the reason that hundreds of fights broke out between us in the name of ‘respect’ (aka pride).
I had a brilliant solution one time, and took it straight to my parents. The solution? To ask mum and dad to bestow the power to me to rule over my siblings so that they would give me the due respect and listen to my orders. I couldn’t remember if the verdict went through, but that of course didn’t work.
Part of the measure of a scout’s progress, is the amount of badges you acquired through tests, assessments and various participations. I remembered as a junior, I walked into a scout meeting one day with my head held high, having all kind of badges stitched onto my uniform (I got access to the badges through my dad’s tailor shop, don’t ask how). For a few minutes prior to the Skip’s arrival, I had the utmost respect and admiration of the fellow scout members.
You could guess what was coming after that. I sustained one of the most humiliating blow in my life; I was being sent home and was ordered to have the badges removed.
As you would expect, I didn’t go far with my Scout career. However, I am happy to report today that all my siblings are respectful towards me, and it is not out of obligation. The secret? I have learned to first respect them.
Childhood has taught me two things about true respect; you do not gain respect through your position or job title (fear perhaps, not respect), above all, respect needs to be earned; one person at a time, one badge at a time.