Friday, February 3, 2012

Lessons I've Learned from my Brother

Today is my brother’s birthday. His name is Scott. We grew up together in the suburbs of Dallas, and like most brothers, we didn't always see eye to eye – actually, we’ve NEVER seen eye to eye because he’s quite a bit taller than me. But that’s neither here nor there. We didn’t get along and it was mostly my fault. I didn’t realize it then, but I do now.

My brother and I, although raised by the same parents, are as different as night and day. I went to college, and he got a job. He joined the Army, and I enlisted in the Air Force. He plays the drums, I play the banjo. He knows how to fix a car and make it run like new. I know that if I step on the little pedal thing, it will go.

Over the years I've learned a lot from my brother – some of it amazing, some of it painful. I learned that it’s best that we don’t talk about religion or politics. I learned that just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean it was given to me by God. I learned that a 6-foot tall younger brother can slam a 5-foot 7-inch older brother into the ground and actually have fun doing it.

I’ve learned a lot of other lessons from my brother, such as the following:

Just because I'm older, doesn't mean I'm smarter. It just means I’m more likely to lose my hearing, hair and teeth before he does.

I am not the center of the universe. The heavens, planets and stars do not rotate around me. My goats may think I’m important, but that’s because I feed them and they don’t know any better.

I am not always "right," and my brother is not always "wrong." And most of the times when I think I’m right, it’s really not worth the fuss.

Never embarrass your brother in front of his girlfriend, unless you're ready to have the wind knocked out of you.

Saying "I’m sorry" does not always fix the problem. It’s best to say I’m sorry while the girlfriend is still around to hear it, but even that’s no guarantee you won’t get hit again.

Sarcasm works for Don Rickles. I am not Don Rickles.

Having a college degree does not ensure intelligence. Believing it does is certain proof of the contrary.

Studying music in college doesn’t make you a musician. The love of playing music makes you a musician. Beyond that, nothing else matters.

Sometimes it’s best to not talk about who’s more qualified to be president. It’s much better to talk about hunting, cooking, camping, fishing, NASCAR and the Dallas Cowboys (and sometimes, not even the Cowboys).

Going deer hunting alone and shooting your first buck is not near as much fun as hunting with your brother and shooting nothing.

Buying new things and watching them grow old can be depressing. Buying old things and making them like new again – now that’s something that can really lift the spirits.

Reading a book is a poor excuse for shutting yourself up in your room and not socializing with relatives who have come to visit. The books will always wait for you – the relatives won’t.

God should have elaborated more when he said, "Love thy neighbor as yourself." He should have included brothers.

I learn something new each and every day from my brother because he’s a good teacher. Some of his lessons are easy to grasp. Some have to be pounded into me year after year. And even though I know I’m not the best of students, at least I’m trying. I just hope to learn all my lessons before the final bell rings.

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