Yes, the last post was on brothers in Christ, and this one is on brothers. Of course, provided that your brother is a Christian too, he is not only your biological brother, he is your brother in Christ just like any other man. But as his biological sister (and as you live in the same household with him), you should know that you can 'make or break' your brother. And you should be careful because the way you treat your brother is often the way that you will treat your future husband (at least, judging from my observations of married couples that seems to be the case).
The "Golden Rule" (Matthew 7:12) is an excellent place to begin for any relationship. You don't want your siblings to be rude to you, do you? Or call you names? Or laugh at you? Or take your things? Or order you around? Well then, start with not doing that to them.
Here are a few particular things that we need to make sure to avoid as sisters.
1. Never call him a sissy or a girly-boy or anything like that. In most cases boys will let you know that it hurts them (i.e. they will yell at you or stomp off), but some boys simply laugh it off or just get a little red and shrug (especially if there is company present). Even if they don't react, this is a very serious thing that will and does hurt them. You don't want your brother to grow up to be a great big over-grown boy, do you? You want him to grow up to be a real man (at least I hope you do). Well, start off by not treating him like a sissy.
2. Don't laugh or scoff at his plans. Even if they involve making a real boat out of tin foil and hoping that it will float with him in it next year.
3. Let your parents be the 'bad guys'. Unless you are the one in charge, or your brother is seriously endangering himself or another person, let your parents tell him to stop sticking his fingers in that tempting soft wax on the top of the candle. If you become 'motherly' about that, it's just bossing him because you aren't his mother. (And if your mother does not tell him to stop, leave the room if it really bothers you. *or you can whisper to your mom, just don't make it look like you are tattling because that builds resentment*) Remember: you are not the police. You are his sister, someone who is supposed to encourage, not discourage or boss.
4. If he starts to tell you that he is having a really hard day, don't tell him not to complain or role your eyes and tell him not to be a baby. He shouldn't complain, but I know that sometimes I need to get a little comfort if I am having a bad day and really feel rotten about myself and everyone else. Nothing makes a person feel less loved than when you won't listen to them.
5. Act respectfully to your brother (and everyone else in your family for that matter). Now I know that this is an odd thing to say or do, especially if your brother is younger than you (like mine is). If you don't know how to respect him, than start by simply treating him with the same courtesy you would show a stranger. If you had a guest over and they told you of this great idea they had, would you smirk and say how stupid it was? Well I hope not! And I sure hope that you wouldn't do that to your brother (or sister for that matter) either.
6. Try to think of something good about him. This might be a challenge at first. A couple of years ago, I was having a very hard time with my siblings and decided that I would make a list of 10 things that I liked about each of them (for me that was 3 lists of 10 since I have 3 siblings). It took me an extremely long time, but it was worth it and it helped me to see them as people and to focus on their good points. It doesn't have to be anything personal. The first thing I thought of for my brother was that he is good at building things, from Legos to tree houses. The next thing that came to mind was that when I was upset he would come and give me a hug (he was only 5 or 6 at the time, but he still does it even to this day). So wrack your mind and come up with something, at least 2 things, good about each of your siblings.
7. Pray for him... pray for all of your siblings, making sure to give thanks for something about them. This is what a sister is for!
Well, that is just the beginning, but I hope that it made sense and was helpful. :-) As always, if you have any other tips just leave them in the comment section (and remember to read in the comments to see any tips left by other girls).
Oh yes, and by the way, Hannah L. brought up a very important point that I forgot...
8. Allow your brother to open doors or carry things for you... My relationship with my brother improved dramatically when I started appreciating his efforts to help in that way. It is interesting to me how cut down he felt when I would just jump out of the car and run to the door instead of waiting for him to get me an umbrella.