When you’re initiated into a NPHC organization, you are essentially “forced” to become family with complete strangers. Of course, no one expects you to become the Optimus Prime of BFFs and transform into a “sister” or “brother” overnight. If they do…they’re crazy. Some people bond instantly while others put on a front until it’s time to probate. The fact is, the initiation process (whatever that may entail) is meant for you to get familiar with the organization AND your ls’s/ lb’s in a controlled environment.
What happens when you’re no longer obligated to be accountable for someone else’s well-being? Being someone’s “keeper” doesn’t mean holding your LB back at a campus party, or being the “responsible one” when your LS turns up a little too much. There are more subtle, profound ways to “keep” someone.
Lessons from the Master Link:
I never understood the concept of “Sisterly Love” or “Sisterhood” until I met my 6 club, my Link, and one of my best friends, Krysten Blackshear.
Let me tell you about my Link. She is one of the most considerate, intelligent, resourceful, knowledgeable, benevolent, insightful, hilarious, thoughtful, helpful, determined, encouraging and loving people I know. One of the many things I admire about Krysten is the way she strives to epitomize “Sisterly Love” in everything she does. What makes her actions even more impressive is her back story in regards to our line. My Link graduated immediately after we crossed, leaving her the odd ball out when it came to bonding with the rest of my LSs. Yet and still, she remained ever present in our lives, eager to bond, encouraging to all and a constant resource of information, wisdom, motivation and warmth.
After 5 awesome years of friendship, here are a few things my Link has taught me about being “My Sister’s Keeper”:
A keeper is responsible for the preservation and conservation of something valuable. Conservation takes consistent and insistent care. At any given time my Link is known to send text messages consisting of prayers, encouraging words, birthday notifications, congratulations, reunion ideas, gentle reminders about life events concerning some of our line sisters, and much more. Krysten has taught me what the power of small check-ins can do for one’s emotional, mental and spiritual state. Small gestures like random calls, texts or skype sessions can really boost someone’s spirit and deepen your relationship. It shows you value that person’s well-being and challenges you to reciprocate the act for that person and others alike.
Practice Checks and Balances:
When I am acting out of my character, or tapping into the more unfavorable aspects of myself, Krysten lets me know. My decisions haven’t been the best. My thought processes haven’t been the wisest. What I love about Krysten is that she keeps me in check.
“Checking” your sorors and frat (in a constructive way) helps everyone stay grounded. It keeps perspectives broad, solutions vast, and provides balance when you’re dealing with simple and complex situations. Don’t be afraid to pull your brother or sister aside and let them know 1) You care 2) You want them to be the best version of themselves 3) You can offer practical solutions on becoming a better person. At the same time, you must know the appropriate time and place to do so. Having these kind of talks helps you establish a rapport of respect with your brother or sister. Go directly to him/her rather than participating in “he said, she said” consulting. Let them know you are a help-mate in their lives. This will not only strengthen your individual bond, but it will strengthen your line, your chapter and your organization as a whole. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link right?
Create a Candid No Flex Zone:
Krysten has always kept it 100% with me. Her candor and unadulterated honesty has made our relationship what it is today. I can be vulnerable with her. My faults are never judged. My mishaps are never shunned. My mistakes are flipped into learning opportunities. And I have tried to provide the same courtesy to her.
She has never made me feel like my life decisions were “irresponsible” or “stupid”. Nor has she flaunted her successes in my face. She’s always done the following: 1) Let me know everything is okay and 2) Reminds me there’s more than one way to get to my destination. With every step life presents, we should be a flashlight for each other’s path. Not everyone is going to be at the place they would like to be in their lives. It’s at those times when an extra push of motivation is needed. Know that sharing your achievements can be encouraging. Sharing the tests that lead to your testimony is even more insightful and inspiring.
Don’t let anyone or anything break that line. Keep those bonds tight. Be that light.
You’re my light Krysten. Love you Linky!