About eight years ago, my wife and I committed to volunteering with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Calgary. It’s an organization that helps children from single parent families. When we volunteered we had no real requirements, simply to take on the child that needed our help the most – whoever was at the top of their list. There were a number of children who had been waiting for a match for quite a while and we selected Andrew to be our “little brother”.
I can honestly say that it was difficult for us at first. Andrew was 12 years old and we had no children of our own to know how to relate to him. He was quite shy and I remember my wife and I having numerous discussions as to how we could bring him out and engage in greater conversations.
We knew that Andrew was bright given the kinds of questions he asked of us, and he showed a lot of depth of thinking for a twelve-year-old.
When you sign on with Big Brothers and Big Sisters you commit to meet with your “little one” once a week for a year. After one year you are free to go your own ways or continue the match.
At the end of one year we decided to continue to see Andrew twice a month to continue to build on the foundation we had set. Although we hadn’t seen a lot of change we had noticed Andrew opening up to us a little more.
We involved Andrew in our lives and discussed “adult concepts” like having a job, personal finances, investing and the like to expose him to different kinds of conversations than he might have had in the school yard.
Over time we noticed quite a significant change in Andrew. When we first met Andrew he had little idea of the bright future he could have, believing that even finishing high school might not be in the cards for him. Now, I’m very proud to say, Andrew has graduated from high school and is in his first year of university, studying to become an English teacher. Though I know Andrew is the one that has made this happen, I do recognize the value of the time my wife and I have spent with him over the last eight years.
It’s quite amazing what can happen over time. Looking back, it’s a clear indication of the magnitude of change that can be affected in a longer time-frame (over five years) and we underestimate our ability to make this kind of change. On the other hand, we tend to get discouraged when we don’t see instant or quick change happen in a shorter period (less than a year).
So when you have a burning desire to make something happen, make a commitment. And stick with it. If the results don’t immediately show, but you feel you’re on the right track, just keep going until you reach success. Tell yourself whatever you have to to keep the greater vision in sight.
If you’re stuck moving forward and you’re looking for some insight, I’d be delighted to coach you through it. Please email or call me for more information on how we can work together to help you achieve your goals.