Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sibling and Gossip

The Book of Genesis taught us the lesson of Cain and Able.

Prime time television entertains us with the conflicts of family. Psychologists tell us that competition between brothers and sisters is normal and that that competition can be positive or negative.

Lucien Bonaparte used his political position in France to help his brother become emperor. Napoleon returned the favor by making his brother king of Italy.

History has many examples of those who resented a sibling success. Novelist Henry James once wrote that he was sorry whenever his older brother read one of his works because he said, his brother was so constitutionally unable to enjoy it.

The word "sibling" goes way back and comes from "sib" which meant any relative; it did not have to be a blood relation. In those days, for instance, a god-sib was a god-relative or god-parent.

For the most part, the link between brothers and sisters is the longest lasting of relationships and is considered one of life's most satisfying bonds. A bond of sharing hopes and wishes and successes and failures and secrets and when you share that much, it is the nature of others to talk about it.

In time, a god-sib, came to mean any close relationship. And close relationships know a lot about each other and again the tendency is to tell others what you know. God-sib, became gossip.

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