Sometimes younger siblings are the worst. They take your clothes without asking. They eavesdrop on you and your friends gossiping. Worst of all, when you were younger they probably broke into the prepubescent Fort Knox of secrets by mimicking your voice to open your Password Journal.

There are some theories that suggest this is a born trait. Birth order theories have been around in psychology for decades. However, the rebellious, loud, and sometimes pushy younger siblings are a burden worth bearing.

As my sister and I have grown up, I’ve realized she’s not half bad. Now I can steal her clothes, too! Jokes and clothing theft aside, there is a lot I learned from my younger and bolder genetic partner in crime.

For example:

Be Unafraid. My sister is not afraid to tell people exactly what she’s thinking or feeling. While doesn’t always work to her advantage, over the years she has learned when it’s appropriate or not. During a business meeting might not be the best time to raise fuss, but you best believe that during any kind of social setting she doesn’t hesitant to say exactly what’s on her mind. She also sticks up for herself, her beliefs, and anyone who isn’t there to defend themselves. It takes a lot of courage to wear your heart on your sleeve and being around her makes me do so far more often.

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Dream Bigger. My sister and I have always been competitive, but she’s usually one step ahead of me in a lot of ways. What I’ve done is never enough for her. Making the honor roll in high school? That was old news for her, as she racked up countless academic awards. Just a member in the drama club? That was too cute for her, so she stole the show in a number of leading roles and won huge awards as a critic for local high school theatre productions. Whatever has been done before, she wants to do it bigger and better. Leaving no rock unturned, she is all too confident that she’ll be the best at whatever task she takes on.

Don’t Look Back. We fought rather frequently as children, but we’re still friends. We’ve patched up our relationship a lot over the last four years, especially since I’ve moved out of our childhood home. Surprisingly, many of the issues we had aren’t relevant to her anymore. The girls she fought with in high school? She couldn’t care less about them; much less wish them any harm. My little sister has her eyes focused on the road in front of her and seldom glances at her rearview mirror. While I can find myself in a rut of trudging up the past, she reminds me that without the past, I wouldn’t be in the place I am now and that, because the past happens, I can move on to bigger and better things.

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I’m so thankful that she reminds me of these things and I can’t wait to see what else I can learn from her as we grow together.

Any advice you’ve learned from younger siblings? I’d love to hear! Younger siblings or only children, don’t feel left out. We are waiting to hear about what you’ve learned from the younger friends and families in your life!