Poor Eli Manning! He's sitting on top of the world this week, having led his New York Giants to football's greatest arena, the Super Bowl. Sports channels are yakking him up, and he's on the cover of the current Sports Illustrated. But look at the small print on this cover:
Ignoring the cold and his brother Peyton's shadow, Eli Manning directed the upset in Green Bay.
Open the magazine and what's the first thing you see? A double-page ad featuring brother Peyton. Turn the page and, you guessed it, yet another ad featuring Peyton. This is supposed to be Eli's moment and his big brother continues to steal his thunder!
Quick background for those not in the know: Eli and Peyton are part of a remarkable football family. Their father Archie was quarterback for the New Orleans Saints in the 1970s. All three Mannings, and a third son Cooper, also had distinguished college careers. Last year Peyton led his Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl championship. This year it's Eli's opportunity to do the same.
Peyton and Eli undoubtedly had their moments of childhood annoyance with each other, as all brothers do, but there is a love and respect between them that is revealed every now and then. Last weekend, Peyton was interviewed about his feelings for Eli's success:
As his brother, obviously I am proud. I think he has what it takes to lead his team to championships. Eli called me and told me that he wanted me to be there [at the Super Bowl]. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
The relationship we have with our siblings is the building block for the way we relate with others in adult life, for better and for worse. Brothers especially seem to have a love-hate thing going on in childhood, and I attribute that to the natural competitiveness of boys. I think back on my own brothers. I wasn't always the best big brother, and there are some hurtful words and situations that I would truly like to take back, if I could.
I believe there are three keys for relating with one's siblings as adults. The first key is simple: forgiveness. Seek it and grant it. Remember, as children we are not fully equipped emotionally to handle the push and pull of relating with those who live with us in such close quarters. Another key is affirmation. Stay involved in your siblings' lives, even if only occasionally during the holidays or via email. The third key, of course, is love. Testify to Love for as long as you shall live.
No matter what happens in life, even if our adult friendships and relationships might unravel, we have our family to fall back on. I will always be there for my brothers and my sisters, and I know in my heart that they will always be there for me.
Meanwhile, I join proud brother Peyton in cheering this Sunday: "Go, Eli!"
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