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Taking brotherly love beyond the family

April 23rd, 2009

Anyone who knows me personally, or who reads this column on a regular basis, knows that I’m pretty fond of myself. As a matter of fact, I downright love me.

But I would be lying if I claimed that I had become this person (that I love so much) without some help and a little bit of guidance.

One of my favorite things in the world is the relationship between brothers. Having a little brother myself, I understand the influence an older male can have on a younger one. (For the record, I disapprove of Michael Jackson’s actions at Neverland Ranch.) My brother looks up to me and will continue to even once he gets taller than me. I know that what I do matters to him.

By default, big brothers are role models for their little bros. I have a brother who’s a sophomore in high school and he takes after me quite a bit. Can you imagine being my parents and not only having to deal with me, but someone with the same sense of humor and desire to be silly? Pretty scary indeed.

Let me clear up a common misconception: Two guys don’t actually have to be from the same parents to be considered “brothers,” at least not in my opinion, which is the only one that counts anyway. Being brothers means a lot more than collaborating on a homemade Mother’s Day card. (Although that is also an important part of the brother dynamic.) I’ve had some “brothers” who qualify as extended family, and despite being brothers from other mothers, they’ve been the real deal.

The first person I consider a big brother is a Fightin’ Irishman, but he might tell you he’s an Italian Stallion. I’ve known him for almost a decade, and he’s taught me many a lesson. Probably the most important thing that he taught me (besides how to sing and drive simultaneously) is that you can have fun and be a goofball while still handling responsibility and being successful. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much based my entire life on that principle. It’s taken me awhile to find the right balance between the two, but I’m getting there.

I’ve had quite a few big brothers at JCU, but only have room for two of them in this column.

First up is a guy who I’ve seen almost every afternoon for the last year and a half. He’s too grown-up for his age and his own good sometimes, but he finds a way to pull it off. A pretty straight-laced guy for the most part, he gets a mischievous satisfaction when he gets away with beating the system (such as, oh I don’t know, illegal cable). He’s always had my back, even when I have his bike. As dumb and corny as it sounds, he’s made every day a great day to be a Blue Streak.

The other big brother I’ve known since sometime early freshman year. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t have to tell you you’re wrong; he just lets you read it between the lines. He knows how to get people talking and has helped me a lot in trying to stir up some fun here at JCU. If I was a better reporter and followed all the leads he gave me, then you all would have known about the dirty little secret behind the Dolan Science Center. He found a way to make responsibility fun, which is no easy task.

I know that I usually don’t come off as someone capable of showing humility. In the words of Kanye West, “If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell ‘em, people never get the flowers while they can still smell ‘em.”

Sometimes you need to take a step back and look at who made you who you are. I’ll admit I don’t have all the answers (just most of them). For the few I don’t know, it’s nice to have a big brother to turn to.