Birth Order Difference


  • Collect materials and bring to your meeting space:
    • Newsprint, markers, tape
    • Drawing paper, crayons, colored pencils, pastels
  • Collect music supplies:
    • Big Ideas! tape or CD by Patricia Shih
    • Tape player or CD player
  • Arrange a circle of chairs with a chalice and matches on a table in the center of the circle.



Everybody makes wishes.
Everybody likes to play.
Everybody needs some loving.
Everybody? every day!

—Sophia Lyon Fahs


Using a Talking Stick, invite each person to say how things are for her or him right now or share a highlight from last week. A person may also pass. If there are members of a family missing from this gathering, share the circumstances, if appropriate (illness, loss) for group’s understanding.


“First, Middle, Last, Only”

Play this song on the CD or tape. Start the dialogue: Which were you in your family? The youngest, the oldest, or somewhere in between? Share your story! I was the ______ in my family. Sometimes I hated it when _____. I liked it when ______. Which do you think is best to be—the first, the middle, the last, the only, a twin?

by Patricia Shih, Patricia Shih Enterprises. Used with permission.

It’s hardest to be the oldest kid, your work is never done
“Play with your brother, look after your sister
Remember that you’re the responsible one
And bring them along when you play with your friends.
Set an example! This job never ends!
Oh you should know better! On you we depend
‘cause you are the oldest kid.”
La la la la la la….
BRIDGE: Isn’t this funny, our points of view,
You’d rather be me, I’d rather be you

Oh the worst thing to be is the middle kid
It’s a horrible place to be
You’re never the first for anything
And hand-me-downs look so foolish on me
Nobody listens to what I say
No one would care if I just went away
To be the first or the last would make my day!
It’s worst for the middle kid
La la la la la la
BRIDGE: Isn’t this funny, our points of view,
You’d rather be me, I’d rather be you

It’s lousy to be the youngest kid, the last to do everything
They call you their “baby” and won’t let you go
You’re tied up in some apron string!
By the time my parents got around to me
They were all worn out! It’s pitiful to see
How sad the life of the youngest can be
It’s tough for the youngest kid
La la la la la la…
BRIDGE Isn’t this funny, our points of view,
You’d rather be me, I’d rather be you

I’m happy to be an only kid and you should be happy too
The first-born is like a pioneer
The middle one learns what not to do
The last one born is a treasure to Mother
And believe it or not, to each sister and brother
And best of all you have each other
Take it from an only kid
La la la la la la

And best of all, you have each other
…still, it’s great to be an only kid!

Read the words to the song and play the tape or CD again. Then invite participants to organize themselves into groups according to their birth order. If any participant is alone have her or him join the group closest to her or his experience.

Reflections / Questions

  1. Name some of the differences that have gone into making you the unique person you are.

  2. How are you like your parent(s)? How are you different?
  3. What are you going to do with what you are and all the different things that have happened and will happen to you?
  4. Do you think that each person in the world is something that has never happened before and will never happen again? Why?

While you are talking about birth-order differences, invite each small group to design a symbol that represents its birth order. Include everyone in the designing, drawing and decorating their symbol.

Invite birth-order groups to share their symbol with commentary.

Likes and Wishes

Invite participants to share thoughts, feelings, or issues that came up for them during the experience of this session.

Closing (light chalice)

“We light our chalice today for all persons in the world-whoever they are and wherever they live-whether they are first-born or last-born, an only child or a twin, rich or poor, old or young, black, brown, or white, tall or short-for each person is special and unique. Each person has inherent worth; each person is important. It’s the first Principle of our UU faith.”