Family Relationships

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Brotherly Love and Sisterly Love

Philadelphia has been known as the city of brotherly love since William Penn first named it over 300 years ago and today one of the LOVE sculptures by Robert Indiana has a prominent place on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

With two sons, four grandsons and a brother of my own, I know a little about how brothers show their love. They're physical with each other - playing or sparring - and they compete in just about any way they can. Although they're fiercely protective of one another from any outsider, they seem to enjoy challenging each other with glee and abandon when it's just them. It's their way of showing respect and acceptance - that they are strong enough to take it. Brotherly love isn't often openly or verbally expressed in warm and fuzzy terms - either between actual brothers or between men friends - rather it's conveyed in doing things together.

What about sisterly love? Mostly it centers on connection and communication as a way of creating emotional intimacy. When sisters do compete and juggle for position, generally it's about relationships - who gets more of the love. That can cause jealousy - over who is cherished, more admired, with greater influence in drawing others closer. So women reach out beyond their siblings - their friendships are often as loving, committed and attached as those between actual sisters. The loyalty and devotion of long-term women friends binds them together and builds a sense of inner strength and personal security in each. We are both more grounded and more willing to take a chance flying because of shared links to our sisterhood.

What is your take on brotherly and sisterly love? Your close friendships? Will they be a part of your Valentine's Day experience tomorrow? Who is dear to you? Are your friendships closer than your actual sibling relationships? Share your feelings and start a discussion through the Comment link below.

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