Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Role Models

How do we learn our roles in life? Is it possible that an older sister helps mold a younger brother? How about the following--

Growing up and learning to read in the 1950's, I recall that my older sister (by three years) helped me learn to read by using comic books. She would open a comic book and proceed to instruct. Not only did she help me learn to read, but I probabaly learned my proper role in life (as a male). I recall that she picked which comic books to "read" to me.

Could it be that an older sister assumes the superior role as a "Little Lulu" while the younger brother is merely a "Tubby"? That the sister is the smart "Nancy" while the brother is born to be a perfect "Sluggo"?

And how about this-- are these learned "inferior" male roles assumed and held over into adult relationships? Why does Charlie Brown continue to trust-- yet be fooled-- by Lucy? It's probably no accident.

Maybe that's a little cynical. Perhaps younger brothers learned something about proper relationships from such role models as "Popeye" (a befuddled vagabond sailor) or "Lil' Abner" (an uneducated hillbilly).

These comic book characters probably taught a lot.


  1. What a nice memory of your sister.

    My dad taught me to read from Childcraft Books (remember those?).

    The first volume (Children's Poems) was my favorite.

    "Have you ever heard of the Sugar Plum Tree?
    'Tis a marvel of great renown.
    It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop Sea
    In the garden of Shut Eye Town..."

  2. What an insightful and wonderfully humorous explanation of why we loved those comic books so much!!!

  3. But maybe the older sister liked them a little more than the little brother. I mean, it's much more fun to be Little Lulu that Tubby. So. . .in the case of big sister-little brother relationships, biology is destiny. Sorry, Bro.

  4. Come to think of it, I remember one morning when I was five and my little brother two and a half... Mom said, "There's a boiled egg in the fridge, give it to Steve." But there wasn't one for me. I gave it to him, thought about it, and got him to eat two raw ones before Mom caught me.
    Another important lesson from a big sister, but I don't know if he got it.