“Why do I have to be here?” Lindsay whined.
“You need to support your brother,” Mom said.
“But it’s so boring,” Lindsay said. “Most of the time I don’t even watch him.”
Lindsay’s little brother, Michael, had joined a Little League baseball team, and Mom took Lindsay to every practice and every game. Lindsay was bored the whole time. While Michael struggled to hit the baseball, Lindsay listened to music, read books, and drew pictures for her little sister.
Lindsay sighed and watched her brother stand in the outfield with his teammates. She watched him as he ran to catch a ball, missed it, and then threw it to the wrong person.
“Keep going, Michael!” Mom called. “You’re doing great!”
“But, Mom,” Lindsay said, “he’s not doing great.”
“That’s why we’re here, Lindsay,” Mom said. “To cheer Michael on, especially when he does badly. If we weren’t here and Michael felt like he was failing, he might stop trying. I want him to always try. Just like how I want you to always try with your art.”
“No one has to cheer me on in art class,” Lindsay said. “Michael doesn’t come with me and shout, ‘Great job!’ when I mix the colors right.”
“No, but he always compliments your art when you show it to us,” Mom said.
Lindsay thought about that. She remembered how Mom had driven her to art classes and how sometimes Michael had to ride in the car, even when he wanted to play with his friends. She watched Michael in the outfield. The other team’s batter had just hit the ball. It was going straight toward him!
“Come on, Michael!” Lindsay cheered. “You can catch it!”
Michael ran toward the ball and stretched out his mitt. He caught the ball!
Lindsay and Mom both stood up and cheered. “Great job, Michael! You’re my favorite brother!” Lindsay shouted.
“I’m your only brother!” Michael shouted back with a huge grin on his face.
Lindsay sat back down, smiling from ear to ear.
“Maybe I should pay attention and cheer Michael on,” she thought. “Watching him catch that ball was the most interesting thing that has happened all day. And he looked like he really cared that I was watching. I’m so proud of him.”
“Mom, I think you’re right,” Lindsay said. “We should support Michael.”
Mom smiled. “I’m glad you changed your mind.”
“Let’s cheer some more!” Lindsay said.
“Go, Michael!” cheered Lindsay and Mom. “You can do it!”
“Strengthen your relationships with your brothers and sisters. They can become your closest friends. Support them in their interests, and help them with challenges they may be facing.”
For the Strength of Youth (2011), 15.