I have always been the youngest in the group. I was the youngest in the group of cousins when I was growing up, so being the youngest has both pros and cons you see. It would mean that all elders would be on your side in case a fight broke out, saying he is the youngest so let him win. It would also mean that the elder ones hate you for always getting away with stuff. As childhood fades away and every one begin to settle in their lives, being youngest would mean, you would get to see a lot of examples, people choosing to study abroad, people making it big here, people going the family way early in their life, people failing miserably and so on, but most importantly being youngest would mean you would get a lot of advice, not the unhelpful unsolicited kinds, when you have a doubt you have people who have just gone through that phaze just a phone call away.
I always have had a close relationship with all my cousins, so when they are in a problem any kinds they have come to me, and so have I, discussing with them things which are personal, professional, financial, emotional matters. They too have never sssshhhhh-ed me away, because they do have the soft corner for me.
One good thing about a big family is that there will be a huge age difference when it comes to a generation, now as our generation in family is almost past that education/job unsettling phaze, we have a fresh crop of people entering it. And the biggest difference is that I am no longer the youngest, and in reversal of role of sorts, I have people who I have seen start kindergarten coming up to me for college advice, for advice on what to study, what to concentrate on. Depending on me to show them what could be a good line for them to pursue in life, how about giving money advice.
Last week, I spent almost an hour discussing with one of my younger cousins, who just finished his 12th standard. He had been away studying in a boarding school, so the familiarity and comfort which we once shard living in the same house was totally gone, I remember when I was in high school, I used to teach him counting numbers and simple arithmetic, now I was discussing with him prospects of a business management carrier for him, answering him questions about a possible commerce carrier.
Suddenly in the middle of the conversation I realized, this guy was seriously listening what I got to say, believing my ideologies and theories , listening promptly points I bring out, asking questions and clearing his doubts, letting me know what he really thought about his future.
I am not used to this, somewhere in the middle of the conversation I wanted to bail out, I did not want to be that grown up, I wanted him to know I was as confused as he is, even though I am supposedly settled in job. I wanted to be there for him, just they way others had been there for me, I realized probably my elders too were unsure when they spoke to me, but may be just that patient listening and a couple of pointers helped me chose what I wanted, in a better and a more confident way, may be thats what he is looking for.
Sometimes this change of roles surprise me, sometimes shock me.