Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

Today I was visiting a fourth grade classroom where students were writing personal essays. They were looking back at older writing entries to see if they might find some ideas for their essays.

“I have a lot of stories about my brother,” one writer said.

“Oooh, me too! What do you think this says about you or you and your brother?” I asked.

“I think it’s hard being the oldest!” he responded. I looked at him with knowing eyes, one “oldest” to another, and then glanced down at his empty notebook page. He picked up his pencil and started writing.

The writer across from him said, “Well, it’s the same being the middle child!” She was a bit defensive. Was she a little envious that this “oldest” was getting more attention in the moment? Typical.

I looked at her incredulously. “Really? Are you going to write about that? Because I’m not sure I believe it.”

“Yeah, it is!” She looked at me with slight disgust–obviously I had no idea. And she started to write.

There may not be any real evidence about how birth order affects us, but we sure do have feelings about it! Where are you in the order? Do you think this affects your personality or outlook on life?


  1. As an only child, I definitely see myself fitting the profile:)

  2. Another oldest here and I feel like the qualities fit me, too!

  3. Lainie Levin says:

    As the youngest of four, I’d definitely say it’s affected my outlook on life. I spent my entire childhood in some form or other of “Gonna do that…not gonna do that…not gonna do THAT…”

    I’ve also somehow wound up being the family go-to person: for support, for advice, for whatever. Not sure how it happened, but there you go…

  4. Alice says:

    What an interesting conversation. The middle child student sure did speak up! I’m wondering what she wrote to prove her position. Oldest child here. I’ve been curious about how to fine tune instruction to fit students’ birth order back in the day when I read a book on the topic. As if teaching isn’t hard enough already, lol!

  5. I’m a middle child and yes the birth order definitely affected the dynamics of our family relationships. My older sister and younger brother would say the same.

  6. arjeha says:

    I sm 2nd of four. Not quite a year’s difference ( him, August 22- me, August 4 the following year. There are those few weeks we are the same age.

  7. Tim Wheeler says:

    I love how you used the classroom experience here to launch a provocative question. What a fun slice. Being the youngest is …mostly awesome to be honest!

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