How My Siblings and I Teach Each Other Wizard of Oz-Style Qualities

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I am the oldest of five children. We were born in the years 1985 to 1995, making us all stand firmly in the millennial range. Since we grew up in the uniquely wonderful (to us at least) ‘90s, we are eternally grateful for not having to worry about things like social media when we were learning how to navigate the world.

“The relationships that we have with our siblings are often the longest lasting relationships of our lives,” said Kim Mills of the American Psychological Association in a podcast. “Brothers and sisters are our first childhood playmates—and our first rivals. In adulthood, siblings can be a source of friendship and emotional support.”

Photo Credit: Kate Oczypok

One of my favorite movies growing up was The Wizard of Oz. I still attribute my love of red shoes to Dorothy’s ruby red slippers. I frequently call myself the black sheep of my family, as I am the creative writer, photographer, and musician in a group of doctors, nurses, and a veterinarian. But each of our attributes, including my own, impact the rest of us in positive ways.

A Brain

In The Wizard of Oz, The Scarecrow desires a brain. One of my sisters and my only brother are quite “brainy.” One is an MD/Ph.D. and the other is an ER doctor. Working in the medical field, they must use their brains every moment of the day. They are logical, think things through, and best of all, use their brains to help people.

They have taught me to always have a questioning mind and to encourage learning something new as often as I can. I also keep this quote in the back of my mind:

Dorothy: “How can you talk if you don’t have a brain?”
Scarecrow: “I don’t know … But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking … don’t they?” 

Basically, my brother and sister have taught me to listen as much as (if not more than) I speak.


The Cowardly Lion looks for courage. A sense of bravery is admittedly what I feel I don’t have much of. My middle and youngest sisters both have so much courage.

I admire my middle sister for having the courage to become a successful veterinarian, marry a wonderful husband, and raise two little boys under two while caring for two dogs. She isn’t afraid to pursue everything she wants in life, fearlessly and unwaveringly.

My youngest sister has the courage to travel wherever she wants to, whether it’s a nurse’s trip to Nicaragua, a high school trip to China, or a more recent trip to Europe with her husband. She also just earned her family nurse practitioner master’s degree. I am inspired by the bold way she takes on the world, unafraid to see and do it all.


I may not be the “brains” of the family, and am more cautious, but I like to think I am the one with a lot of heart. 

I try to remember everyone’s birthday, develop my relationship with my young nephews and most importantly to me, keep our family traditions alive. We still make my grandmother’s holiday cookies every Christmas, watch Home Alone together and at Thanksgiving, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. We have started new traditions, too, like a giant White Elephant gathering with aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A heart is a representation of love of all kinds — romantic, friendship, family, you name it.

I use my positive attributes of having a lot of heart to remind my siblings how grateful we should be to be so bonded, and to love each other so dearly.

Close Sibling Relationships

“Often kids get caught up in things being fair,” said Dr. Anne K. Jacobs, who earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Kansas, to Metro Family Magazine. “It takes time and patience for them to learn that parents attend to everyone’s unique needs.”

I know my siblings and I are grateful we have such incredible parents who knew to nurture us in different ways, recognizing and understanding our distinctive qualities early in our lives.

Tags: Family, Siblings

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Written By

Kate Oczypok

Kate Oczypok is a freelance writer based in the DC area. She lives with her husband and dog and also teaches piano lessons. See Full Bio

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