Siblings Rivalry

Siblings Rivalry 

Ibne Qais

(Note: before reading this article, please read article titled “Siblings Love” first.)

 Always remember, there is a difference between skepticism and cynicism…. Skepticism is about asking questions, being dubious, being wary, not being gullible but always being open to being convinced of a new fact or angle. Cynicism is about already having the answer-or thinking you do-answers about a person or an event. The skeptic says, ” I know that’s not true. I am going to check it out.” The cynic says, “I know that’s is not true. it couldn’t be. I’m going to slam him” — Thomas Friedman, Best selling author, and Columnist for New York Times.

Skepticism is, or should be, an extraordinarily powerful and positive influence on the world. Skepticism is not simply about “debunking” as is commonly charged. Skepticism is about redirecting attention, influence, and funding away from worthless superstitions and toward projects and ideas that are evidenced to be beneficial to humanity and to the world. Skepticism is the most intellectual approach but the problem with being skeptic is that cynic ones start quarrelling with them, since cynicism is conservative in approach they can’t tolerate skepticism.

Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ apparent motives or ambitions, or a general lack of faith or hope in the human race or in individuals with desires, hopes, opinions, or personal tastes that a cynic perceives as unrealistic or inappropriate, therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. It is a form of jaded negativity,

Mostly, Cynics are normally less informed or extremely biased in their knowledge.When an information is given to Skeptic, he/she will try to understand and try to learn from it, and enhance his/her knowledge, while Cynic on receipt of same information, will criticize the information, often without any basis, expressing just his/her opinion.

After I posted my article titled “Sibling Love” I received numerous appreciative comments. However I also received 3 comments from the cynic readers. I had written the said article based on my long term observation of a family and their pathetic nature of rivalry, as noted in the article. My intentions, to write the story, was to make readers understand the disgust in the animosity towards their own blood, and take my suggestions to correct their behavior. However the comments are suggesting that I should have taken more direct approach with the family to explain my view point. But then I also think all the siblings are mid age adults with grown up children, and have failed to learn with their parental guidance and their education and own experience, what can I do. Cynics as they are, they ignore the good behavior they observe around them and unable to learn anything.

Since I am familiar with the commentators, I can see these commentators took the opportunity to express their own intentions and desire in these comments with their situation. Though all these points are relevant to the subject family of the story, I will address them with the example of the subject family.

Commentator A

“Good Read! The only thing I don’t agree with is ‘respect for elders’ because it implies that youngers don’t deserve respect and elders can disrespect them as they desire. I believe that every soul deserve respect from others and we must treat others the way we want to be treated”. Another reader commented on the above comments :” Sorry, elders deserve to be respected more. It doesn’t mean younger have no respect.” Commentator A responded back: “In the families where elders take care of youngers.”

This comment is replica of the attitude and behavior of one of the sibling of the family in reference. She is much younger in the family, a well to do professional but is always unhappy with all of the siblings. Being large and poor family elder siblings in the family helped her parent and took care of their brothers and sisters for a reasonable time, but she does not appreciate the help and always criticize them.  While she demands respect for herself, she tell twisted and made up stories about others to each sibling. On several occasions she had called other siblings and demand that they should not give respect to so and so. She will ask them to fight with others based on her made up stories. I only wish she knows that “disrespecting others and telling lies about others will not make her respectable”.  By doing so she may satisfy her narcissistic ego, but others will not respect her. In order to get respect she has to show respect to others, and should avoid picking fight with others, and telling lies to others, to motivate them to fight. At end of day her other siblings can see thru the lies and resent nobody else but her. People do not respect the person who openly show contempt for others, for no apparent reason, or things exaggerated to make his/her points.

Commentator B

Point 1. “The problem in siblings/very near relatives are solved by proper Islamic education from infancy. It doesnot mean that everyone be forced to pray, fast or recite Quran. It rather means that concepts of sovereignity and attributes of Allah, temporary nature of this world, hereafter, the accountability in front of Allah, the eternal life in hell or heaven , prophets and sahabas stories for lessons etc. the concepts come as foremost education and ibadaat come very late in childhood…
If only logic (own or other human’s) is used then the child will have some other logic to counter it but if he/she is explained with islamic references and in a polite but wise way then inshallah results will be different.

Point 2. There is no point in proving superiority over things which one cannot achieve by him/her self old age, strength, good grades etc… Allah gave body and brains He made some one elder and other younger….so whats the point of superiority over these ‘non self’ things?”

 Point one above reflects the thought pattern of one of the son of a (female) sibling. He is a well educated and well read person, but his knowledge is extremely biased in favour of a particular sect. Following the ideologies of his religious groups, he is very close minded and can argue, extensively to prove his opinions are correct. He is very arrogant, disrespectful to the people who don’t agree with him. He also claims that he has been mandated by Allah to correct everybody, and would jump on every opportunity to preach others. However his actions are against every thing religious teachings suggest for a noble person to do while interacting with elders in family.

Recently his mother invited all of her sisters at dinner at her house. One sister as usual excused herself that she is sick, though in the past she has told others if so and so sister will be there she will not come. However in the gathering that day, this man was bad mouthing his “mother’s sister” behind her back, but in front of her children (his cousin). As I said he is extremely religious, but his actions were on the contrary to the religious teaching. He not only involved in “Gheebat” against his aunt, he also did that either deliberately or naively in front of her children. Of course religious teaching did not help him to act nobly and with love to his family and elder relatives of her mother.

In my observation religious piety, as described with this neo-con sect he follows make people more arrogant and disrespectful to others. So the argument that religious teaching will make the siblings more loving is invalid.

Point 2 in above comment is also baseless. I wish the commentator has consulted a dictionary and have understood the difference between the words “respect and superiority”.  In my article I have suggested : “9. Due respect of elder sibling is the noble thing to do. What comes around goes around. Telling elders what to do is rude. Directives from juniors often create anger, a polite suggestion is always considered.”

That did not mean that somebody is superior. Elders are elders and they deserve due respect. In the said family only selfish and cynics would not respect their elders as they do not appreciate the good deeds of their elders. Their negative approach has blinded them to appreciate the support elders had given to the parents in raising the younger siblings. If they only demand respect for them and would not show the respect to their elders, they will not get it. What comes around goes around.

Commentator C  “

“”Thou Shalt Not Lie” Eoxdus 20:16. Sibling issues as you mentioned falls under this category. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Thou shalt become a role model for others to follow and leaving no room for crtitics to criticize.”

I find this comment totally irrelevant to my article. Perhaps it is based on the commentator’s understanding of his own family situation. I do agree with him that elders should be role model, but in my story I see the younger ones creating problems for elders. And unnecessary politics is played by few, to gain domination and control on other siblings. Some think that they should get more respect and recognition because of their wealth. Unfortunately they have also indoctrinated in their children, and I have observed children, following their parent,  behaving indifferently towards other member of family.

Lastly I admit I had written the story with good intention that people will read and learn to promote love among siblings. But I am not sure I have been successful in bringing my point of view. It appears that readers instead of learning either Just read and tossed aside or picked points to criticize the story. Certainly their was no learning. But again if parents can not teach their children then only Allah can teach them. I can only pray May Allah guide them to live with siblings with love and respect.

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