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How to be cool to a kid

8 March 2006
A few years ago I was sitting alone in my office thinking about life and mortality and what matters and what doesn't. I thought to myself I don't do enough for others. Thinking of ideas, I decided to contact the big brother/big sister program. A bunch of paperwork and background checks later they called me and said they had a kid close to me, but he was very young... Only 7. After some hesitation because I wasn't sure how to handle someone that young, I said ok and I've been his "big brother" for 6 years now. He is now a teenager. It's been a very interesting experience. I could say a lot, but I don't want to write a novel here so I'll just tell you guys some memorable parts.

The second day we went out, he said "david can I ask you a question?"... I said sure, thinking here I get to be the mentor now and got all ready for it. He looked at me and said "what's a lap dance?"... LOL.... ok just throw me into the deep end of the pool kid.

A few years later, I broke up with my girlfriend. He and I would always get pizza, and he said "david, are you sad?"... I said "yeah, a little bit"... He got all quiet which he never is, then said "do you want my pizza bubble?" because I had told him 6 months ago I liked the burnt bubbles on pizza dough. Felt like with all his might he wanted to make me feel better. It was really cool.

One day recently, we were late to a movie. He asked for popcorn money. I give him the only bill in my wallet, a $50. I wait in the ticket line, he goes to get popcorn. Mistakingly, I had said "get whatever you want". When I got to the stand, he had purchased a large popcorn, pizza, a large coke, sour patch kids, m&m's, nachos, some sort of round chocolate candy, and to keep it healthy for me, a bottle of water. To the tune of $46 and something cents, and he handed me back some change. LOL.... I was going to be upset, but he looked at me and said "you said get anything I want!!".

One day I was at his house fixing his mom's computer. She's a really good mom, but she does not talk much as English isn't her first language. She came into the room and said "does he ever tell you what you mean to him?"... I said "yes". She said "well he always talks about you. And he always says david does it this way, david does it that way". Then she said "has he ever told you how his dad died?" I said no. So she tells me this story about how the poor guy woke up in the morning, had a heart attack, and fell over on the ground. Being only 40 something years old. She was at work already, and no one knew until hours later. Then a telemarketer calls the house, and my "little brother" picks up the phone. She asks for his dad, he goes into the room, runs back to the phone (he is 6) and says to the telemarketer he isn't moving. She tells him to go back and see if he's breathing, then he comes back and says no. Now she tells a crying and hysterical kid to hang up and call 911. Later that night, the telemarketer calls back the house on her own time, wanting to know what happened. His mom says that her husband didn't make it. The telemarketer cries and says that while she was on hold, she could hear this 6 year old boy crying and screaming at the top of his lungs "daddy don't leave me, daddy please don't leave me". She says "maybe you don't think you have that big of an influence on him, but it is very big". Now I am stunned hearing this story, and frankly, I am having a hard time holding back my tears. I never looked at what I did with him the same way again. It took on a whole new importance.

Lately he is talking to girls and it's a new subject for him that he brings up with hesitation. He told me a few months ago about how he was on the phone with this girl for 3 hours on with another girl for 4. Again, during pizza. Hearing this I feel the need to step in and as he is going on and on, I tell him to put his pizza down because I wanted to tell him something important. He puts his pizza down and I said to him "look. You're a guy. You're not a chick. You stay on the phone for 10, maybe 15 minutes tops. Then you wrap it up, and hang up. If they want to hear more, then they can hear it in person". I was very assertive not sure how he would take it. Argue, question, etc. he looks at me and says "OK david" and goes right back to his pizza. I had no idea I had such power. LOL...

He loves my nsx, and I've picked him up from school in it. I made him the coolest kid at school that day. He loves going fast and thinks the NSX is the best car ever as.... it obviously is. Can't imagine what it would be like without him in my life. I'm not a dad, but I have a great dad, and I think it sucks he doesn't have one. I'm glad that at least he has someone to ask what a lap dance is. Maybe this will motivate someone else to do something similar. And if you have a cool story with your son or your dad post about it.
Good job Dave I am glad you both found eachother and you are still keeping in touch with the kid. Thanks for the feel good story and please share more down the line.
Well David, in addition to your KWs and your incoming Advan wheels, we do have something in common doing the Big thing:smile:

My just turned 14 and no longer shorter than me so I tell people he is my bodyguard.

Mine is not a talker but really into sports and has very good manner. I think I was lucky as my last one was a handful.

I will be taking him on the Cal Coastal drive coming up and the day before is the Blue Angles at Miramar, I think that is more exciting than lap dancing...lol:biggrin:
Thank you so much for sharing, TURBO2GO! I may be way too old to big a big sister (I'm 54) but I loved being a mom and would like to do something like what you're doing. I'll have to check into it.

Submitted an application for the closest Big Sisters. I'll see if they can use me.
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I remember your original post. It inspired me so much, I signed up for the Big Brothers program. I was matched a few months after the application process.

While I found the program to be excellent, and they did try to match me appropriately, I managed to get matched with a kid, 8 years old, with an unusual situation. He had three siblings, all of whom were in the program. His parents were still together, which was also odd. As it turns out, my little brother was quite an amazing kid. It was his parents with the problems. F L I G H T Y!!! I'll bet over the year and a half that we were matched, she changed her phone number five or six times. Very difficult to make plans etc...He mentioned a couple of times that they might be moving. After repeated unreturned phone calls, I had a feeling they had moved on. After speaking with Big Brothers, they confirmed that indeed they must have moved on, as none of the "bigs" could get in touch with any of their "littles." Four children yanked out of the program with not so much as a simple phone call.

I know the program is supposed to help mold these kids into better human beings. And I have no doubt it works. It is just a shame that the parents (in my situation) almost act as an antidote to the positive influence that is made.
I wanted to do something like this, but with the car community (Prime or other forums) and sick or dying kids. Something like a short cruise or parade where the kids (who are physically able to be out of their hospital rooms) can ride shot gun in a nice car and see something other than a hospital room all day. Just a thought. Great job Turbo!
Thank you so much for sharing, TURBO2GO! I may be way too old to big a big sister (I'm 54) but I loved being a mom and would like to do something like what you're doing. I'll have to check into it.

Submitted an application for the closest Big Sisters. I'll see if they can use me.

WTO Patty:smile: You are still young....you'll be surprised the needs out there.
You can tell them what kind of kid you like to have to suit your world. I did not want a kid who just want to play games all day and I want their guardian to be part of it as well. I got a great kid - Kevin, you met him at our last drive.
This is a great story Dave. I always figured you were a good guy but this really proves it.:smile:
Very cool stories Turbo. I remember reading some of your previous posts and thought it was pretty awesome of you. You've impacted this kid for life. Make sure you always try to stay in touch.

Before marriage/kids, I was doing the same in my early 20's. But, I had identical twin boys:eek: It was fun to spoil them and teach them all the cool things... like making their own potato guns. I occasionally get calls from them asking for computer help, and I still buy tools and gifts for them and mail it out (since we're now about 800 miles away).

I used to do a lot of volunteering work when I moved to New England out of college and didn't know anyone (soup kitchens, writing grant requests for help centers). Working directly with the kids was the most rewarding by far. I remember seeing soup kitchen guests pulling into the parking lot in fancy cars and then disposing half they were given in the trash :rolleyes: That turned me off pretty quick to that type of volunteering.

Great story Dave. Thanks for sharing. It made my day

+1 - I don't know you personally Dave but after reading your story it makes me feel like I know you much better (forget your bad taste in cars! j/k)

Right now at this point in my life I'm a dad to a 20 month old daughter and almost 4 week old son so I don't have time to do what you are doing. However I think it's pretty clear your impact on another kid's life is pretty dramatic.

I don't even know how the big brother/big sister program works but whatever you are doing is working and this is what being a dad is all about. Whether he is your flesh and blood or not, I think you are a really cool "dad" :biggrin:

thanks for sharing!
having a non related male role model is important.....I can only imagine there are countless youngsters who grow up through this program having thier faith in humanity restored by the generosity in time the big brothers/sisters provide.
A lot of kind words guys, thanks. It's really him that makes it a cool relationship.

Kyras, I think you'd be great, just make sure you get a compatible match.

It's really cool that some of you also did/do this (liftnot, djdrock). I know everyone's experience is different, but mine has been great.

I remember the second day while we were sledding he asked me "How long do you think we will be friends for?" LOL...
Great story David. Now on the reality of things, when this young man turns 18, you owe him the opportunity of an actual lap dance.:wink:
Great story David. Now on the reality of things, when this young man turns 18, you owe him the opportunity of an actual lap dance.:wink:

Oh don't you worry about that! LOL... I'm such a good guy I will take him to the best of the best. :tongue:
Oh don't you worry about that! LOL... I'm such a good guy I will take him to the best of the best. :tongue:

And buy him an NSX too.:biggrin:
Great story Dave. I see you in a new light now. You're not as jerky as your posts :D