How early do you think you can figure out the personality of a child? We weren’t sure at first, but now believe it can be quite young. At the tender of age of two several characteristic traits became evident about our firstborn. We were expecting our second child, and I was working a few hours in the evenings for some friends. My husband would pick up our son, Nick, at my work when he was done at his job. We were in the midst of remodeling our first home. Joe and Nick would enjoy several hours of time alone until I arrived home.
It was during this time in our lives that we received our first glimpses into the kind of older sibling Nick was going to be. After feeding Nick dinner, Joe would attempt to put him in front of the television while he took out the old windows and replaced them. However, Nick was not interested in being in front of the television, but by his daddy’s side. One particular night they were on the second floor and my husband was pulling and yanking at this one window, but it wouldn’t budge. Leaning out of it, Joe suddenly felt a tug at his side and discovered that Nick had hooked his hands into his belt loops. In his young mind Nick must have believed that he would be able to prevent his daddy from falling out of the window to his death. We pondered this experience and watched how this attribute as well as others developed through the years.
With the arrival of each new sibling, we observed a strong nurturing intuition in Nick as well as this protective spirit.
“Can I feed Alex?”
“Can I change Daniel’s diaper?”
“Can I hold Allie?” Nick would constantly ask.
“Come on. You can do it?” Nick would encourage his sister and brothers as they learned how to walk toward him.
“I know how to read now, mommy. Can I read the story tonight?”
By the time Nick was a teenager, it was a common sight to see him jump in and help care for the needs of his siblings. One particular incident at our local health club once again displayed his deep need to guard his siblings from what he perceived as potential danger. Our daughter was not permitted in the weight room due to her young age and inability to participate in the activities there. Since the gymnasium was visible from where Joe and the boys were working out, Allie shot baskets while they pumped up their muscles. Suddenly, my oldest son bolted to his feet and darted toward his sister. The other two boys were quickly on his heels to see what had caught his attention. Apparently, a man in his mid-thirties had begun interacting with our daughter.
“Allie, you need to follow your shot through with your hands.” Nick told her as his way of politely urging the man to leave his sister alone. My husband told me later that he was impressed with the way in which Nick had handled this situation. We also saw this as an excellent opportunity for Nick to model to his brothers what it meant to watch over those you love.
Now that Nick is a young adult, living on his own, he continues to stay actively involved in the lives of his younger siblings. He’s sharing an apartment with Alex until he gets married this summer. Every weekend Daniel sleeps over and occasionally Allie joins in with the overnight visits.
“Let’s go talk, Daniel.” He recently said to his brother who was struggling with school, friends, and life in general.
When Nick was nineteen, we decided we wanted another little girl, and so we adopted. Lana is now three and even though Nick no longer lives at home, it hasn’t stopped him from being involved in her life. Nick will randomly call us and ask to take Lana for an entire day, spoiling her with trips to McDonald’s as well as purchasing her new clothes. It is true. We were able to see the nurturing and protective personality of our oldest son at an early age and are confident that soon he will make a wonderful husband and father.
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