Are you the first-born, second-born or middle child, the youngest, or the only child in your family? Do you happen to come from a blended family or are you a “gap child” (someone who was born after at least five years next to an older sibling)?
Whether we like it or not, agree or disagree, our birth order or position in our families shapes our different (and most of the time, colliding) personalities and even the parenting styles of our folks. Imagine bringing these unique differences and present tensions from our homes to our workplaces…
Now, that’s what I call the perfect recipe for more “sanctification”, baby! What do I mean by sanctification here? Relationships closest to us (especially with our families) can and will definitely TEST so many things in our hearts (our motives and intentions), our character (our values and nature), and how we ultimately regard our relationship over other issues. And that my friend is purification at its finest form! It’s the area where we either grow or fail when it comes to our family relationships.
And when it comes to our sibs? They become either our unchosen best friends or archenemies. Working with our siblings (or any family member or relative) could be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible. You may ask, how?
This was what I was itching to ask a brother and sister duo that I met during my hosting work for Music for Life Philippines’ first Worship Benefit Concert where I saw how it is possible to work (in peace) with your sibling (haha).
How does Sheena Lee Palad (a singer-songwriter, worship leader and gospel recording artist), the youngest of four children, work with her older brother, Felson Palad (a writer, producer and concert director)?
Listen to their amazing singing voices by playing the blogcast below and discover Felson’s original composition “Abot Kamay”.
Let’s learn more about these super-sibling-duo and their dynamics here through some meaningful Q&A’s that I had with them:
JM: “Hi Sheena and Felson! I’m curious, how did you guys start working together?”
Felson: “I think it started when I realized something special with my sister. When I was in high school, I had this band where we would always practice at home. Sheena was 5 years old then and while she’s in her milk bottle, she would comment about how we play, ‘Kuya, mali kanta mo’. And with that, she meant that I was in a wrong note or tempo. Right then and there I realized that my baby sister has an ear for music. From then on, I would ask her to sing for me while I play the guitar or even ask her to sing with our band.”
Sheena: “When it comes to work, it all started when we worked together as our pastors asked us to sing duets for special numbers for Sunday service. This eventually became serious when I represented our country, the Philippines in WCOPA (World Championship of Performing Arts) last 2016 in Hollywood, U.S.A.
From paper works to sponsorship letters, to meeting people, and vocal coaching, my brother was there and even worked as my manager for my singing engagements before and after the competition. He was also my sound engineer for the shows.”
Felson: “Yes, I think that was the time that you can say we’ve started working together professionally. What was awesome about it was seeing the both of us grow in faith too as we would literally pray all the time. We would even ask our mom to pray for us before we head to any of our meetings or singing engagements.
We also experienced sending email messages to people that we barely know and boldly ask people regarding my sister’s competition in the U.S. We learned to ask, seek and knock on doors together.”
JM: “What a great partnership you both have as siblings! With your professional experiences together, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a family member?”
Sheena: “For me, one of the advantages of working with a family member is that you already feel comfortable to move around and just be yourself with them. And if there are some conflicts with the engagements, I can easily say it to my brother without hesitations since he is also my handler.
Next, I need a critic as a singer so that’s where my big brother comes in. He’s one my critics that I can trust. He tells me his honest observations and to what and where I need more improvement especially when it comes to my singing techniques.
When it comes to the disadvantage, I think overfamiliarity will always be one of the cons if you work with a family. I already got used to his judgments but it’s funny like how sometimes I would just let his opinions pass since I’m already used to hearing the same ones from him. And of course, there comes a time when you will really argue A LOT and have misunderstandings especially him being older (I want another thing while he knows what’s ‘better’).”
Felson: “I agree with overfamiliarity. Sometimes as we tell each other what note we missed in a duet song, we would fight over it for a minute then recover tapes, then bati na ulit kami. I think our 15 years gap also played a big role in our dynamics and my place in her life. As we lost our father very early on, I would sometimes be not just a Kuya (older brother) to her but a dad too. But I can say that most of the time, I would also be her friend.”
(Listen to their original composition, “Abot Kamay” by playing the podcast on this blog.)
JM: “Sounds familiar Sheena and Felson! We definitely argue and make peace as siblings, haha! I can so relate.
So what are your bits of advice or tips for siblings who work together? How can they have a healthier working relationship?”
Sheena: “If you’re working with a family member and you’re the youngest, don’t ever talk back especially in the middle of an argument or while your parents or siblings are in the hype of their emotions. Try to understand what they’re going through (their possible stress and the many things on their plate).
Also, try to consider their suggestions and opinions because they really know better than you do. Their experience really matters in any type of business and there are things that they can clearly see while we don’t.
Proverbs 16:3 is also a good reminder, PRAY, COMMIT and TRUST the Lord in every transaction, with every people that you meet, and in the performances that you have to work together. For success will only be achieved as you include the Lord in them.”
JM: “I feel you, Sheena, as I’m the youngest in the family too! I couldn’t agree more. It’s hard but yes I agree, haha!”
Felson: “To add to what Sheena already pointed out, prayers and being open to talking over things before committing on a project are also very important. Aside from asking the Lord about His directions, honoring your parents and their wisdom are also precious. We also value the guidance of other people like our elders and pastors.”
Curious about what professionals say about your personalities and behaviors based on your birth order?
Check the list below and let me know if it’s accurate or close enough. 🙂
Birth Order + Parenting = Behavior
Firstborns bask in their parents’ presence, which may explain why they sometimes act like mini-adults. Firstborns are diligent and want to be the best at everything they do. They excel at winning the hearts of their elders.
As the leader of the pack, firstborns often tend to be:
The middle child often feels left out and a sense of, ‘Well, I’m not the oldest”. “I’m not the youngest. Who am I?”, says therapist Meri Wallace. This sort of hierarchical floundering leads middle children to make their mark among their peers since parental attention is usually devoted to the beloved firstborn or baby of the family.
In general, middle children tend to possess the following characteristics:
Thrives on friendships
Has large social circle
Youngest children tend to be the most free-spirited due to their parents’ increasingly laissez-faire attitude towards parenting the second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) time around.
The baby of the family tends to be:
Being the only child is a unique position in a family. Without any siblings to compete with, the only child monopolizes his parents’ attention and resources, not just for a short period of time like a firstborn, but forever. In effect, this makes an only child something like a “super-firstborn”: only children have the privilege (and the burden) of having all their parents’ support and expectations on their shoulders.
Thus, only children tend to be:
Mature for their age
What are your thoughts about this?
Is this right when it comes to your birth order and personality/ behavior?
JM: “Just listening to your duet and original composition is truly inspiring! You sing so beautifully together.
With your amazing God-given talents, what can people look forward to from both of you?”
Sheena: “Our plan is to write more songs for God, to produce more albums, and to conduct workshops for young and aspiring songwriters and singers.
Felson: “We’re excited to record more original songs! Our songs are inspired by our personal quiet moments with the Lord, so it would be great if we can share them with more people. We’re also outlining our Christmas album this year and would like to promote our album to more Filipino communities abroad.”
Thank you Sheena and Felson for graciously sharing your very impressive talents, inspiring faith and about your relationship as siblings and professional partners!
Thanks for encouraging us that yes, there are challenges in working with a family but it is not impossible to work harmoniously and productively with them. 🙂
Follow Sheena and Felson here or if you enjoyed their songs or would like to invite them to your events, send them an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
As much as I love my brothers, we also had some quite challenging moments as there were times when we really needed to work together. We sometimes disagree and argue, but at the end of the day, those disagreements and arguments eventually lead us to understand and love each other more and to even realize the things that we needed to change.
The way that you react with the tests and tensions in your life will either make you (and your relationships) grow or make you old (from too much negativity, lol).
Good thing we got over our wrestling matches and realized that we are on the same team! Here are just some of the things that I learned when it comes to Sibling Love: Relationships and Work:
(Inspired by Aretha Franklin, haha!)
R ESPOND (confront) with love and try to put yourself in their shoes.
E GO OUT! – Bid goodbye to your pride. Be flexible and learn to adjust.
S ET THE BOUNDARIES – this may be hard to do but leaving your family issues at home could help set a better working environment for you guys. Establish a clear communication for expectations, positions/ roles, and tasks at work.
P RAY FOR EACH OTHER and bless each other (even when it hurts). You’ll never know what your siblings are going through too. And you’ll never know how much you may be needing each other.
E XPRESS AND BE CLEAR – communication is vital in any relationship. Listen more as you give each other the airtime to express what you want to clarify.
C OLLABORATE – it’s not always about competition, it’s teamwork!
T HANK THEM at all times and in everything. I love how we really improved in this area as siblings! And I appreciate whenever my brothers would say sorry or thank you (I know it could be hard). I also learned to be more sensitive (to their needs) and appreciative (of their efforts – no matter how big or small they may seem).
To my brothers, I dedicate this post to you. I love and appreciate you both. 🙂
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4
Stay grateful and hopeful! See you on my next blogcast episode.
– Miss JM
Blogcast Music: “Mondays” by Joakim Karud
Music provided by Free Music for Vlogs
Contact the artist here.
What people are saying about this blog:
“JM, yes I can totally relate to the behavior chart you included above, as the only child! Haha And I can imagine the relationship between siblings as bitter-sweet. Still, it’s a blessing to at least have one. ☺️❤️” – Yasmin G.
“ Love the acronym 🙂 Can apply to all relationships – siblings, spouse, friends, colleagues. Thanks for this.” – Tanya