Speaking of Family...

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"Boys, I want you to go do those chores right now." "Oh no," I thought to myself. "There goes my little sister again—imitating Mom talking to my brother and me." As far as my younger brother and I were concerned, this annoying scenario was happening much too often. So, typical of older brothers, we found what we thought was an excellent solution to our problem. It was one that even met our parents' strict rule that we couldn't hit each other.

Since my parents both spoke German and were teaching us kids some of the language, we had learned that the word in German for sister is schwester. Combining a little German with a little English, whenever our little sister would start giving us orders, we would simply say, "OK, pester schwester." While we had no intention of doing what she said, we figured using such a clever phrase would let her know she was being a pest. We thought it would make her stop bugging us.

But our plan didn't work quite as well as we had hoped. Calling our sister a "pester schwester" only made her mad. She would often respond, "Oh be quiet." Since we weren't allowed to tell each other to shut up, this was the best retort she could muster. Not to be out done, we with mock respect replied, "OK, O.B." You see, our sister used the phrase, "Oh be quiet" on us so often, we just called her O.B. The end result was that she would march off in frustration and we boys would be rid of a little sister bothering us.

This often repeated scenario when all three of us were young wasn't the model of perfection in terms of making friends and influencing people, but it was typical of brothers and sisters learning to get along. Now what about you? Could you use some advice about how to better get along with members of your family—your parents, your brothers, your sisters? This issue of Youth United focuses on these very issues.

Beginning with the big picture, "What's so Special About Families?" shows how our human families were designed by God to help us better understand spiritual concepts. Next, "When Parents and Friends Clash" addresses this common problem and "How Can You Get Along With Brothers and Sisters?" gets right to the heart of sibling relationships. Not overlooking how youth should treat their parents, "How to Raise Your Parents" provides a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek approach to this serious subject.

Recognizing that many families today are single-parent households, "Living With One Parent" provides interviews with youth and parents who find themselves in this condition. Next, "The Suitcase" tells the story of a young girl who was separated from her mother at age 4. "A Forgotten Treasure" reminds us of the value of learning to speak to older people.

Wrapping up this issue, "Don't Leave Home Without It" addresses important money management skills young people need to learn and "Ask Youth" features biblical answers to questions our readers have asked.

Now before I forget, let me reassure everyone that as we've grown older, my sister, brother and I have all learned better people skills. We've learned that ordering other people around and name-calling aren't effective ways to positively influence people. The staff of Youth United hopes this issue will help all of you get along better with your family, too. YU