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Mentors for the Whole Family

A Mother of Littles share just how invaluable having a BIG was for her boys and her and her daughter!

A Big Brother for Four

When my husband died very suddenly I was left with the sole task of raising our children (1 girl, 4 boys).  It took me some time to realize I wasn’t as well prepared for the task as I thought. Boys’ needs are so different from girls and I just wasn’t equipped to handle all the different issues with which I was confronted. I had heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters and decided to give them a call.  In retrospect, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

When the boys were first matched with their Big Brother, Brad, I wasn’t certain what to expect or what my role would be in this very unique relationship. I came to realize that if I ever had a problem with any of my sons I could count on their Big Brother to back me in my decision. 

Image34The boys now had someone who thinks like….well like guys do, the kind of things that women will probably never be able to understand such as how the exaggerated expulsion of body gasses is an exciting event.  When they talk of these things they make it sound as if this is an Olympic competition.  I’m not really sure why this was made an indoor event.  Maybe it is to get the full effect.  Maybe it is to make watching hockey or football more interesting or exciting.  After going ice fishing, which is one of their treasured outings, they come back with stories of how they had to escape the confines of their fishing hut to keep from being gassed to death.  I have yet to figure out how this constitutes male bonding. 

I just can’t picture me doing these kind of things with my boys but they were important to them.  They needed someone they could relate to, someone who understood the male species, and it made a difference in their attitude towards life.  The boys themselves have a closer relationship with each other because they realize they haven’t been abandoned or orphaned in the complexities of growing to maturity.

They have found someone in whom they can confide and they know that as long as it isn’t a life threatening issue, whatever they discuss with their Big Brother will remain between them.  Their Big Brother sees potential in them that I, being so close to them tend to over look.  He emphasizes that they have a responsibility to themselves and to society and encourages each of them to be everything they can be.

Being an only parent gives new meaning to the word “challenge,” and trying to meet everyone’s needs and demands can really wear you down. So when the kids are off on their adventures with their Big Brother it gives me a chance to regroup, prioritize and get a fresh perspective on things.  And I know they need to escape from me as much as I need a break from them.

I have spoken only of the needs of my sons, but I also have an incredible 18 year old daughter.  You know how most people have an idol, a role model, someone for whom you have very high regards, well my daughter is such a person.  She has her life all mapped out.  She knows what she wants out of life and has the drive and determination to go for it and she lives life to the fullest.  She is everything I want to be when I grow up.  Having a Big Brother gives us a chance to run away and do some of the things we both enjoy. 

Being involved in Big Brothers has been a positive force in our family.  The boys have grown in maturity and strength of character.  They have confidence in who they are and what they are all about. 

This is an excert from a speech written 15 years ago.  My children have since grown up, move out and are happy, healthy individuals in loving relationships and are the best of friends.  Each is working in a field that they enjoy and best of all they have blessed me with  gorgeous little ones to love and spoil.  Their Big Brother is still a part of their lives.  My middle child actually works with Brad in the insurance industry.  I believe life might have been very different had it not been for the influence this wonderful man had on all our lives.

- Elizabeth (Mother of 4 Littles, Now Big Sister)

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