"...Am I my brother's keeper?" - Cain, Genesis 4:9b KJV
There's nothing more comforting than having the presence of someone who is stronger, more mature, experienced and compassionate to your cause during times of danger or of crisis. This is who a big brother is.
A 'Big brother' is not necessarily an older, male sibling, a 'Big brother' is anyone who has travelled a similar path you're travelling, and is willing to show you how to get there; without any other ulterior motive.
This could be anyone from parents, to politicians, to siblings, to mentors, to supervisors, to religious leaders, to school prefects, etc. The greatest example of a 'Big brother' is the older generation. Charged with the mentoring, guidance, protection, teaching and nurturing of the younger generation, the older generation is the ultimate 'Big brother'. The Big brother(older generation) is there to serve as a prototype for the younger generation. The socialization of the younger generation into becoming responsible members of the society, largely depends on their relationship with the 'Big brother'. In effect, a great proportion of the success or failure of the younger generation depends on the 'Big brother'. This is so, because, the younger generations(though they may disagree) do not have enough experience, understanding, knowledge and wisdom to deal with the tests that life throws their way. This is where the older generation must step in and say, "Alright son, this is how you do it...!". However, what happens when the 'Big brother' refuses to respond to the threats of 'Little brother's bully? What happens when the 'Big brother' becomes the 'Little brother's bully, instead? What are the consequences of the failures of the 'Big brother'? These are the effects caused by the failures of the older generation, in the younger generation:
Recurrence of generational failure.
Before we tackle these three offshoots of the 'Big brother's irresponsibility, let's try to understand how the Big brother becomes or has become a failure - one word: selfishness. It is the pursuit of selfish desires, private ambition and personal dreams that causes the older generation to become negligent or antagonistic in their responsibilities towards the younger generation. E.g. Men enjoy the pleasure of having unprotected sex with women whom they have no intention of settling down with; but they don't want to be responsible for any pregnancy that may arise as result. Selfishness is not just the pursuit of self-interests without regard for others, it is also the manipulation and coercion of others to fulfill one's self-interests. E.g. A so-called, loving mother may spoil her daughter by giving her daughter everything she never had, without considering the fact that she is actually making her daughter materialistic. The only reason why the mother does this is because she wants to make herself happy. She believes that by doting on her daughter, she could somehow fulfill her long-suffered or denied desires in her daughter. It is completely selfish for any parent to try and re-live their youth or their lives in their children. The 'Big brother's selfishness engenders rebellion, recurrence of generational failure and estrangement.
Estrangement occurs when the affection the 'Little brother' has for the 'Big brother' ceases to exist. It is normally a passive reaction. Nobody decides whether they will come into this earth or not. And nobody decides, or better still, nobody should decide, who gets to come into the earth or not. We all come into the earth as complete strangers to ourselves and to everybody. Since this is the case, whatever bond the younger generation has with the older generation, is solely built through years of continuous interaction. When that bond is severed, all the hardwork of building that relationship comes to naught. Everything goes back into reset, and they become strangers again. Estrangement is normally viewed as an anticlimax: a sad ending to a wonderful tale. And it usually is. However, estrangement from an irresponsible 'Big brother' can be the best thing that ever happened to the 'Little brother', if the younger generation can benefit properly from the experience. E.g. A young girl whose father is imprisoned for defiling her, has a better chance of recovering from her traumatic experience, than one who is still living with her father: enduring his torture.
Rebellion, unlike estrangement, is a more aggressive reaction to the failures of the 'Big brother'. Rebellion is, and has always been, an attempt to gain back lost control or power (over one's life or property), from the hands of a perceived enemy. Although sometimes rebellion from the younger generation is wrong and uncalled for, most of it are simply reactions to failure of the older generation to perform its duties. The major significance about the failure of the 'Big brother' here is that, the 'Big brother' has failed in his responsibilities to the point of becoming an enemy to the 'Little brother'. A classic case would be a big brother who bullies his little brother. When the older generation fails to nurture, protect, guide, teach and mentor the younger generation, the younger generation may just become estranged. But when the older generation corrupts, abandons, misleads, dumbs-down and mentors the younger generation into strife and bitterness, the younger generation moves from passive estrangement, to aggressive rebellion. The rebellion, like estrangement, may be positive or negative. Positive rebellion, in this case, is when the 'Little brother' retaliates by respectfully refusing to obey the destructive traditions or instructions of the 'Big brother'; but instead, he does the right thing. Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment, how many younger brothers react positively to the bullying of their older brothers? Negative rebellion - aggressive retaliation - to leadership or mentorship of the older generation always feels like the 'natural' response for the younger generation. This is because the 'Little brother' doesn't even see the 'Big brother' as just an irresponsible person or a pathetic failure anymore. Rather, the 'Little brother' considers his 'Big brother' a threat, and an enemy to his well being.
If the older generation fails to consider and perform its duty of mentoring the younger generation justly and rightly, the inevitable result is what I call the Recurrence of Generational Failure. Since 'Big brother' never showed 'Little brother' how to tie his shoe laces, the chances of the latter being able to teach himself or another how to do so, are very slim. The younger generation strives hard to NOT BECOME a failure like the older generation, and by doing so, completely loses sight as to how TO BECOME better than the older generation. Humanity is wired TO BECOME, and not, NOT TO BECOME. Hence, the failures of the older generation cannot be bettered or overcome by avoidance. As a matter of fact, the more the 'Little brother' tries to avoid his 'Big brother's pitfalls, the more he finds himself stumbling into those very same pitfalls. And thus, the failures of the older generation reoccurs in the younger generation, causing a diabolic, cyclical pattern of generational irresponsibility.
Breaking the cycle of bad 'Big brothers' requires death. The death of the older of the irresponsible older generation. I am using death as a metaphor for any permanent separation between the older generation and the younger generation. But sometimes death in its literal sense is what is required to ensure this permanent separation. Death is necessary because when it comes to irresponsible leadership, there is no way of modifying or adjusting it to become right again. The only solution for irresponsibility is complete eradication. Either the older generation 'dies' to its old irresponsible ways, or it will have to suffer the permanent separation from the younger generation through 'death'. A school of thought may argue and say that,
"Even though the older generation may have failed continuously in its obligations towards the younger generation, a complete separation between the two of them is not ideal. The 'Little brother' must continue to make do with the (irresponsible) leadership of 'Big brother', in hope that 'Little brother' can negotiate some gradual change in 'Big brother'; or, Little brother could become the change he wants himself. Death or permanent separation is too drastic, rash, dangerous and could cost the 'Little brother'."
This argument is completely rubbish. What the statement above implies is that, if a child is being abused continuously at home, it is better for the child to just deal with the abuse until things are worked out, rather than seeking refuge or shelter away from his or her abuser(s). Again, I reiterate, there is no alternative method in dealing with irresponsible living, except death. Not just the death of the older generation, but also, the death of the younger generation. 'Little brother' must put to death his innate proclivity to indiscipline through a conscious exercise of mental and physical discipline. Little brother must decide to kill his ignorance and naivete through the pursuit of truth, understanding and wisdom. And finally, 'Little brother' will have to destroy every distraction that comes his way through a steadfast focus on purpose, priorities and principles. Should he falter in doing any of these things, he must not take that as a cue for surrender. Because if 'Big brother' doesn't come to the rescue, 'Little brother' must learn how to become his own big brother; for the sake of his unborn brothers.