Big brothers, sisters always needed

Published 11:17am Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By CHRIS GEORGE / Guest Columnist

Recently, I had a talk with my three sons about a bond they shared that no one could break — brotherhood.

I then explained to my oldest the importance of being the big brother and told him everything he did would be emulated by the younger two. My desire is for them to look out after each other, make each other better, stand up for their mother, and become something that only they can be.

In the early years of my profession, I spoke with parents who would come to the jail and visit their boys. Often, they would tell me that after the age of 12, they began to lose control. At the time, I wasn’t a father, but I remembered how I was at 12 and an only child. I was without a positive male influence and left at home alone because my Nanny was working two jobs just to make ends meet. I was an accident waiting to happen.

Fortunately, I had a big brother that would come take me fishing, hiking, and how to drive a four speed. He took the time to teach me right from wrong. His presence in my life kept me from going completely astray. I had my challenges, but he helped place strong moral cornerstones. There was no law, protective agency, or mandated supervision that placed my big brother with me. He was a volunteer that saw a need and answered it.

We are so fortunate to live in a county with the lowest unemployment rate, highest median income, and a homeless rate that isn’t even measured. Every action we take should be to the benefit of others, not the other way around. Generosity and compassion is much easier when it is given at will and not mandated by a tax or law.

You may not have the time to volunteer, but remember that everything you tell a child can have either a positive or negative influence. Our prisons and jails are full of young men and women who made bad choices, and those choices are theirs and theirs alone, but a child’s mind is always seeking acceptance and guidance. Our world needs more big brothers and sisters.

Capt. Chris George is a commander with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He can be reached at

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