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I am an only child. Growing up I hated it. I always envied my friends who had siblings especially those with younger brothers. I, being a boy, understood other boys so wanting a brother just made sense, and, also being an INFJ, I wanted to be able to nurture a younger life and give advice to a future generation. Basically, I wanted someone who would look up to me and love me and whom I could love in return.

Well, I never did get the brother I so longed for, but that's okay because I still had plenty of siblings. Now, I know you're all thinking that I need to be committed right about now, but believe me. I'm not crazy. When I say I had plenty of siblings, I don't mean that my mom gave birth to more children, or that we adopted, or that I had some strange fantasy world in which I lived with multiple brothers and sisters. No, what I mean is that, because I didn't have any real siblings to care for, I found those kids who needed a guiding hand, the outcasts, the awkward kids. Somehow my heart was drawn to them, and, interestingly enough, so were they.

In my sophomore year of high school, I met a 7th grader named Brendan. Brendan was a shy, but extremely bright boy. The problem was that he knew the depth of his intelligence, and most people found him a bit arrogant. I will admit; he was arrogant. But somehow I still felt that I could help him. I started having deep, rather interesting discussions with him. He really enjoyed these because I could actually keep up with his insane though patterns. Gradually, we developed more of a friendship, and he started showing me his softer side. Things slowly developed between us, and his mom was very supportive of our friendship. She saw that I was being a role model to her son, and she could not have been more approving. She even suggested that I take him fishing, and that's what we did. I had so much fun just hanging out with him. After I graduated from high school, I lost the physical contact that I had with him, but I still stay in touch. I'm very proud to see that he's growing into a wonderful and well adapted young man.

There have been several other boys who I've taken under my wing since then, and recently one boy has really changed my life. He had a horrible childhood, but he's doing fairly well now. When I first met him, I had no idea of the pain he'd been through, but somehow he sensed that I was a safe place. He opened himself up to me, and I listened. I have had the honor of helping him get over some of his fears and at least help him a bit get his life back on track. He has told me that he sees me as a brother in every way but blood, and, honestly, I feel the same way. Even though we are not related, I would do everything in my power to protect him just as I would a family member.

I am an only child, but I have plenty of siblings. I believe that because I didn't grow up around actual brothers and sisters, I have a unique appreciation for being a young person helping to guide other young people. I'm not saying that universally only children make good mentors, but I think with the right combination of character and depth of love, only children can make just as good if not better siblings to those children who need a loving hand to guide them.
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