(This story written by Big Brother Joe Sherman, left, was scheduled to appear in The Hendersonville Times-News on June 14.)
There’s the old saying, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard life is hard.” This is a story about how guidance and patience with my Little Brother is showing positive results.
I’ve been with what we call at Big Brothers Big Sisters, my Little, now for about two and a-half years. We have been through many “life” experiences more than once. My Little was eight years old when we were matched. He lives with his adoptive grandmother and an older and younger sister. Grandma was looking for a male influence as she sensed he was lacking in experience and guidance.
We have worked on things like table manners, oral hygiene, how to behave when entering a building when others are trying to leave at the same time. I have encouraged, with some success, my Little to help Grandma clean the house, more specifically his room, which at times looked like the aftermath of a tornado. There have been positive outcomes from one each of these observations.
Getting on to family, I had to take my Little last year to get a Mother’s Day card and flowers for his grandma. This was a lesson in progress. Then Valentine’s Day was coming this year and I suggested he needed to do something for his grandma. He was making a card, which he did do. Problem was Grandma did not get the handmade card until one day after Valentine’s Day. I expressed my disappointment and suggested that Grandma deserved more respect than that.
Now we are in pandemic mode and I haven’t seen my Little in almost two months. We talk twice a week, but we both miss the time we spend together. I spoke to him the Friday before Mother’s Day to see if he had thought about doing something for Grandma. He proudly advised me that when cleaning his room that week, he found five dollars he had forgotten about. He told me that he and his sister walked to a nearby dollar store and got a card and a box of chocolates for his grandma. This was without any prompting from me. Needless to say, I told him he made me proud, and I’m sure his grandma would be thrilled. He is starting to understand family dynamics and how he is an important part of his entire dynamic.
It’s true, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard life is hard.” Little steps like these show me that my Little is listening and taking on a more active of responsibility with his grandma and sisters.
These are the rewards of being a Big Brother.
If my story touches you, consider volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina here in Henderson County. We are always looking for Bigs to mentor our youth. We offer two opportunities to reach out and help with one-to-one mentoring either with the community-based or school-based programs.
For more information visit www.bbbswnc.org or contact our program coordinator Morgan Harris via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also are looking for volunteers to sit on our advisory council or donors with financial support.
Help us ignite potential in our youth.
Joe Sherman serves in several ways with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina. In addition to being a Big Brother, he is a member of the Henderson County Advisory Council and becomes the new chair beginning July 1. Joe is a retired attorney and also sits on the Henderson County Board of Equalization and Review.