I jealously, intensely, guard my relationship with my siblings. Whilst years ago I might have been forthright, spewing out what I thought without restraint, nowadays however, I try to play the fool even on occasions when a brother or sister has behaved badly. The reason I do this is simple. I have seen many families disintegrate over flimsy things. I have seen so much bile and hate between siblings. I refer here not to the much vaunted, and sometimes, acceptable sibling rivalry of wanting to be the smartest or the 'finest' during adolescence, but a deep-seated hatred for a sibling even to the extent of wanting them to be down on their luck whilst you are up on yours. I have also seen many brothers and sisters who just tolerate one another. There may not necessarily be a full-blown war quite alright, but there is no love lost between them either.
From my observation, when sibling relationships break down, it's almost similar to, if not worse, than an acrimonious divorce. Two or more people who have hitherto loved each other very passionately are now driven into a situation where their hatred for one another is equally passionate. I have come across people who are so bitter that they wish their sister or brother dead. Some come to this unfortunate position because their brother or sister is nasty to them, because he/she doesn't care about them, or because the sibling reminds them of their own mistakes. Sometimes, these situations are worsened by unhelpful spouses who may fuel the situation rather than help to keep the peace.
Not for a second do I suggest that there are easy solutions to these unfortunate situations, other than everyone making the effort to guard their sibling/family relationships jealously.
As terrible as the above analysis may be, there is a flip side. I have also found many people who have shown considerable care and attention to people who they are not related to. This could be a friend, a neighbour or someone whom they feel they owe a duty of care. In some cases, this person may not even be deserving. In the Jane Austen's romantic book, 'Mansfield Park,' Fanny (Frances) Price was in every practical sense a daughter to Sir Thomas and her aunt, Lady Bertram than their own children. On a personal level, I have watched how someone who has no blood relationship to my dad cares for his needs and often make roundtrip journeys of over 6000 miles to check on his welfare. No doubt, to my dad, this individual is worth more than seven sons.
In the same vein, I have also seen people who met at school or workplace and have gone ahead to forge lasting relationships that often supersede the ones they have with family members.
So, the questions is this: Is blood always thicker than water? Probably not! Whatever your opinion may be regarding this puzzle, my one piece of advice is this - do everything you can to protect your relationships with your siblings and family members even if it means you feel cheated. PostcardfromLagos