In our family we have a policy of Older Siblings Rule. The concept is quite obvious. When you have many children, inevitably they form teams or pacts. This makes for peace when it comes to disagreements and decisions. Every family has plenty of them and they can be trying on the nerves. We have our own solution. We have been doing it for years and it works. The younger kids are all for compliance and they toe the line. It just happened without coercion. I can say that we pride ourselves on this model and I have discussed it positively with other parents. They find it a creative solution to diverse family matters and some have vowed to try it as other methods have not worked. You can’t dictate policy to everyone uniformly. Each child in the family has their own interests and concerns, so when one of the older siblings has a request, we all listen.
One of the older children has had a mentor, a nurse, who has been an influence in her life for some years. She met her when she was a school nurse when my child was quite young in elementary school. They stayed in touch when she left the school and they were able to have regular meetings from time to time. Sometimes time flies and they are not always able to get together. My children all have so many activities that it is near impossible to work in everything you want to do. But this mentor is important and time had to be made for an upcoming meeting so the nurse wouldn’t feel slighted. Since it had been awhile, my daughter wanted to bring something with her as a token of their friendship and respect. It had to be special showing some thought behind it. In effect, she wanted to give her a gift as a thank you for her years of loyalty. What to buy? Since my daughter and the nurse had many discussions about the profession and the possibility of my child following in her footsteps someday, we wanted the gift to mean something. We pondered it for some time and came up with the idea of a really good stethoscope. After all, such an item is a symbol of the medical profession. It is ubiquitous for nurses. Every time this particular nurse would use it, she could think of my child. This would be far better than a piece of jewelry, a wallet, or some other nondescript practical item that would long be forgotten over time.
The day came for their meeting and my daughter returned home, her face beaming with a smile. She was extremely pleased with the reaction to the gift. The nurse loved the stethoscope and found it most appropriate. She was touched by the gesture and the two vowed to meet more often than they had been. The best kind of mentor is one you have for life.