Today is Giving Tuesday. A moment to step back from the impending Christmas chaos and department store stampedes. A time to stop and think about what really matters.
Since I don’t have copious amounts of money kicking around (yet!), I made a decision awhile ago that instead, I would give my time: Five years, five months, and counting to be exact. Tonight, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my time as a Big Sister.
The first time I hung out with my Little it was Father’s Day, June 2010 and she was in grade 3. Neither of us had a father to celebrate with that year, mine lived in Manitoba and hers somewhere in BC. An instant bond.
As we pulled up to my mom’s middle class suburban house she looked a little in awe. “Wow, how many people live here?!” she exclaimed as we walked through the door.
“Three.” I sheepishly replied. The first of many times I would realize how much I have taken my upbringing for granted.
Together we walked my dog Heidi through the neighbourhood I grew up in, an easy ice breaker. As we approached a walking path near a pretty pond, my new Little looked at me and said, “When I grow up, I’m going to live in a place just like this.”
“That sounds like a good plan to me!” I responded nonchalantly.
And then it hit me: I really could have an impact on this little girl’s life. What I didn’t realize however, was the impact she would have on mine.
While doing my best to be a good Big Sister, I have been simultaneously learning right there beside her.
I’ve learned what it truly means to be an active listener, to realize that the person talking to you needs to be heard, validated and understood. Even grade five girl drama can feel heavy when you’re in the thick of it!
I’ve learned that letting go of your ego and having some fun can be challenging but oh so rewarding. There’s nothing quite like beating a bunch of 8 year old boys at laser tag and having to accept your certificate with your code name Lizard on it… in front of them… and their parents.
I’ve learned that sometimes the most important thing you can do is just be there. Sometimes there are no words you can say to make things better. Sometimes all you can do is just show up, be real and be reliable.
I’ll never know for certain what kind of an impact I have made on my Little but I do know that being a part of her life has made mine richer and for that I am grateful. This Giving Tuesday, I hope you take some time to support a charity of your choice, in whatever way you can.
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, click here.