Connecting with your brothers is without a doubt the most important thing about being in a fraternity. It’s the entire manifestation of your brotherhood. It takes time to form the relationships necessary to support a lifetime of friendship. There’s this common misconception that as soon as you join a fraternity, you instantly have this group of friends. While that may be true, the initial “newness” of it all wears off soon, and you’re forced to actual have real conversations, display your vulnerabilities and share your experiences. That’s where true fraternity is formed. We like to call it brother-bonding.
This past week the brothers in our chapter rallied together to see one another and reconnect. The summer has a distinct way of separating us so a miniature reunion was long overdue. The brothers in the area made the trip from Burlington, Vermont to Queensbury, New York to enjoy the intensity that is the Great Escape: Six Flags amusement park. From rollercoasters to carnival style games, and the overpriced food in between, the brothers that were able to go had the chance to see one another in a different context. Outside of normal fraternity stuff, that is chapter meetings, social events, community service and philanthropy efforts, etc. brothers get to see parts of each other that they may not have been aware of. The amusement park brought out the best, fun-loving, adventure-seeking thrill rider in all of them. Zach, Jake, Derrick, Alton, and Connor made their way around the park, and even stopped for a mid-day picnic. It’s great to just hang out, with no other obligations. It’s not very often that it happens with the pressures of academics, recruitment efforts, and other obligations, during the school year it’s a true struggle to just … be. Be in the moment, be where you are, and be with your brothers. That’s where real cords are tied together, conversations get going and lifelong connections are made. This is what we call brother bonding.
When you’re a brother who lives out of state like myself, the summer can be a sort of isolation for you. Everyone else in my chapter is in the northeast and I’m in the Midwest at home in Ohio. Despite daily text message conversations with most of my brothers, it’s hard to still feel included in your chapter. This past weekend, however, my big brother came through on his way to visit family in Indiana to meet up with me. It was definitely one of the highlights of my summer to see a familiar face. I gave him a tour of my house, he met my family, and we went out to dinner at our mutual favorite diner – Steak ‘n’ Shake (the best kept secret of the Midwest). We talked for just over 2 hours, long after we finished our food and dessert. It was late and instead of continuing on his way, Gabe stayed the night at my house. It was so cool to be reunited with a brother, but even more so my own big. Sage advice, trading quirky stories and good times – that’s what we call brother bonding.
Brothers Are More: The people you bestow with the title of brother should be few and far between. It is an honor and privilege to not only be able to call someone a brother, but to have that title placed on you. Brothers are more than just built-in friends. They are the people who can, will, and should be there for you no matter what. The people whose opinions you value and advice you receive gratefully. These are the ones that you can’t imagine your life without and are thankful to have. Brothers are more because they have the ability and the obligation to get to know you, the real you. The you that few people get to see. The you that is most you – comfortable, honest, and true. Brother bonding is so very important. It’s what distinguishes brothers from bros. It’s that bond you’ve formed so strong that it can never be broken. That’s what we call brother bonding.
I challenge you this week to reach out to any of your brothers – especially ones you don’t talk to as much. You’d be surprise how much they appreciate just hearing from you!