Monday, October 1, 2012

Full Circle - Big Brothers Big Sisters

Have you ever wondered if you were the "right person?" or if it was "the right time in your life" to get involved in someone else's life?

In 1996 my husband and I were newly weds and we had just moved from Virginia to Wisconsin.  (We got married in January, finished the honeymoon with a second interview at a job and house hunting, accepted the job and bought a house in Feb with help from grandparents, moved at the end of Feb, started his new job in March (?) )

That summer we decided to apply to Big Brothers Big Sisters and get involved.  The social worker suggested we be a "Big Couple" and said that usually they'll match up a couple with a boy as they have more need for mentors with boys.  Fine.  My husband was interested in an older kid and so the social worker asked us if we'd be interested in the 12/13 year old range as these kids were "aging out."

We were matched with *H* who was 13 and liked soccer.  Perfect.  Even more perfect was that he is a little introverted.  I am too.  Once we got to know one another we could comfortably be in each others space without feeling a need to talk if we didn't want to.  Again, perfect.

So what does a big couple do?  Well we started off pretty basic.  Once a week we'd pick him up and either go out for dinner or have him over.  Because he was quiet and I'm quiet we started to go to movies too.  And then we all kind of got over the initial weirdness and by the end of the year he was hanging out at my house.  He'd come over to play computer games "Command and Conquer" was a big one, do yard work with my husband, they built a deck, he'd play with my dogs.  My husband coached H's soccer team in the spring.  And then the following year my husband started travel so H would call and ask if he could come to my house to do his homework, or to bake cookies, he was just a kid who needed a place to go hang out.  My husband saved up his travel points and H and I flew to NYC to visit for a weekend.

And then I had a baby and we moved.

But we stayed in touch.  My husband still traveled a lot so once a year we sent *H* a plane ticket.  And  a couple of times he came out for the summer.  And he hung with a tough crowd in High School and made decisions that we didn't approve of and we told him so, but he was still welcome to come out and hang out.  I think it was a good lesson for us, people don't always do what you want but you don't cut them off.

And because of that over the years *H* has called to talk to us about stuff, how to invest money, which car to buy, or just to talk.

*H* is 28 now.  He is my daughter Bitsy's godfather.  He was out to visit this summer for 5 weeks as he recently left the military and was in between jobs.  He is a great young man.  He helps around the house, is funny with my kids, was hilarious at "apples to apples" trying to help my 7 year old with her vocabulary.  He helped drop off and pick up kids from sports and activities and went to watch all of Tiger's soccer games.

My kids love him.  They don't really understand the relationship and we kind of just say "oh dad coached H's soccer team and we all got along really well and sort of adopted each other."  Tiger said, "you now, he's too cool to be an Uncle.  Can he be our big brother?"

Full circle.

So if you are wondering?  Will it matter?  Is it the right time?

Just do it.

It will matter.

More than you know.


Anonymous said...

"I think it was a good lesson for us, people don't always do what you want but you don't cut them off."

How true!

CailinMarie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penelope W said...

What a fabulous illustration of how someone can make a difference in a child's life!!! Thanks for sharing!

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

I couldn't agree more! Just do it ... whatever ministry opportunity opens up ... but do something! What blessings you've received because you did!