10 Commandments of Sisterhood
When I became a big sister at the mere age of 5, I had no idea of the responsibility it entailed. The role and responsibility became more than the usual – the changing of dirty diapers, being the occasional sitter, walking my siblings to school, and ensuring that I was available if an extra hand was needed in a fight.
It became a mandate, a requirement, a gift, and a privilege all in one. If I did not step into and own the fullness of being a sister dreams, goals, visions, and possibly lives would be loss.
My role of being a sister has inspired many, but sisterhood in return has also been a tower of strength for me. Sisterhood has cried with me, laughed with me, encouraged me, believed in me, supported me and truly changed me. Without it, I would not be where I am today or who I am today!
Now at the age of 37 and a biological sister of 4, a step sister of 3, a host to many people I have bonded with as a sister friend, and a sisterly mentor to many; I have learned that there is a guide to genuine sisterhood.
Throughout my experience I have came up with what I feel should be known as the 10 Commandments of Sisterhood!
Thou shalt be vulnerable.
Let’s face it! As much as we all want to appear as if we have everything all together and that our lives are going according to “plan,” this is often not the case. The reality is that life truly does happen. There are days when we cry, when we want to throw in the towel, and when we want to run away and never come back. Those moments must be shared. Your stories of heartache and triumph must be heard. Your transparency shows your humanity. It reveals your souls, strengthens connections and reminds those whom you love that they are not alone. Whether it’s you or the sibling, vulnerability is a must.
Thou shalt support.
There was once a time when a close sister friend, decided to marry a guy whom she had known for literally less than 2 months. I and several other individuals pleaded with her to give the relationship some time and to see what the future held. Despite our pleas, she decided to get married. My heart immediately sank. I mean, he wasn’t a bad guy. He just wasn’t “the best” guy I had ever met. I knew that she deserved more, and to be perfectly honest, I was not confident that he could provide that.
Eventually the bridal shower and wedding invitations arrived. I had to make a decision to attend or not. I precisely weighed the pros and cons of each decision.
It all came down to this: Should I support my sister friend or not? Notice that I did not say, should I support her marriage or not? Should I support her as the beautiful, intelligent, kind, warm hearted, talented and loving person that I know? Should I support the person whom I have grown to love, support and whom I would do anything to promote her happiness? Should I support her ability as a mature, adult woman to make her own personal life decisions?
Yes. I should. I chose to support my sister friend.
Support does not always mean that you agree with the decisions that your loved ones make. Support often means that you support the person, the beauty of who they are, and the wonder of who they are destined to become.
Thou shalt cover.
It is written that love covers a multitude of faults. If you are a sister who truly walks in love, you will cover, protect, and at times help restore. It is not our place to judge another’s actions or criticize one’s decisions. No one likes to be judged, including us ourselves. It is only our responsibility to carry others in times of weakness and uphold them if they lack the strength to stand. Sisterhood is about believing the best even when someone appears to be at their worst. We must chose to see the good in everyone. We must chose to love unconditionally.
Thou shalt celebrate.
From high school graduations, to college acceptance letters, engagements and marriages, the birth of children, birthdays, career advancements or even “big chops”— all things deserve a celebration! These are the moments we must cherish, commemorate and rejoice. The world often places strong emphasis on tragedy and despair. Why not celebrate those things that are good and notable! The celebrations can range from a commemorative party to a small, intimate family gathering. Whatever you decide, just “Celebrate good times, come on!”
Thou shalt listen.
Now ladies, I know that we think that our opinions should always be heard. However, sometimes those opinions should remain inside of our brilliant minds or in a fancy journal. Being a sister sometimes requires that you put on your “listening ears”, bite your tongue and open your heart. It is amazing the depth of what people will reveal and the things we will discover if we will only listen and withhold our responses for the appropriate time. Sometimes our ears, rather than our mouths, are what is needed most.
Thou shalt make time.
We live in a society where everyone is busy! Our careers, families, and personal endeavors all require our time. Sometimes 24 hours never seems to be enough. Regardless of the numerous activities on our plate, you must make time for those who mean the most. Make time for memories. Whether is it’s a weekly Face Time call to your BFF, a monthly mall date with your favorite co-worker, a weekend brunch with your little sister/brother, or a weekly check in text with your mentee – make time! The hand of time cannot be turned back. Tomorrow is not promised.
Thou shalt speak the truth in love.
I’ve watched reality shows such as The Voice, X Factor and American Idol. There is always more than one contestant whose voice isn’t quite up to par (well maybe far from up to par). Realistically, those contestants should not be auditioning. I often wondered how their loved ones could allow them to go onto national television and sing their hearts out. Did anyone ever tell them that they could not sing? Did anyone ever tell them the truth?
There is a fine line between speaking the truth and speaking the truth in love. There is a certain tact and grace that must be displayed when speaking a truth that someone possibly won’t want to receive. In the case of the reality show contestant, if not approached correctly, the truth of their inability to sing could break the spirit and deter them from pursuing any dream forever.
Genuine sisterhood realizes that speaking truth in loves comes from the inward parts of good intentions. Before parting our lips, we must first consider the value: the value of the individual, the value of their destiny, the value of our relationship with them, and the value of the truth. In most cases, the value of each of the previously mentioned is extremely high and speaking the truth should never depreciate the value.
Thou shalt push others towards destiny.
As Dwyane’s big sister, I knew that I wanted, and that he deserved more than what the streets of Southside Chicago had to offer. I knew that there was a destiny far greater than he could ever imagine locked away deep inside of him. I also knew that in order for that destiny to be unlocked, I needed to make a life changing decision that would push him into destiny’s path. Which led me to pack his belongings and take him to live with our father. The rest of the story is history.
As a sister, you will come into contact with individuals that need a push towards destiny. They need words of encouragement, guidance concerning life decisions, or just someone to keep them accountable. Be that “push” for them! Without that push they just might not make it to destiny’s door!
Thou shalt make allowance for mistakes and forgive!
No one is perfect and no one ever will be. Sisters understand that everyone makes mistakes – including you. There will be times when people hurt, disappoint, and betray your sisterhood. Even after you have poured your heart and soul into the relationship, someone will say or do the unimaginable and cut you to the core. It will hurt…. it will burn deep.
But, you must forgive! Or in the words of Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, “Let it go!”
There is much more in store for you! Destiny awaits! You are too valuable to allow life’s disappointments to stop you. Don’t allow unforgiveness, resentment or anger to prevent you from accomplishing your goals and being a sister to those who will truly appreciate your gift!
Thou shalt enjoy the journey!
Sisterhood, whether biological or fostered, is a remarkably fun and life changing journey. It is one of the most treasured relationships a women could ever have. Don’t miss out on one of life’s greatest gifts by focusing on things that that are irrelevant. Simply put, sit back, relax, and enjoy the sisterhood ride!
For those that have sacrificed. The day will get better and the ride will get smoother. Bumps in the Road is inevitable.