Stepping Out Of The Box


Today’s Music: The Shook – Window
(Because how often do you hear a banjo on a wah-wah pedal?)
Days Til Spring: TWO!!!!!
And if you can, please help out Merbear.===========================>>>

Tomorrow I’m going to step way out of my comfort zone. I’m going to an orientation for Big Brothers Big Sisters. They are an organization that pairs mentors with children who, for whatever reason, could use one.
It’s not a tremendous time requirement – they ask for four hours every other weekend. They want the mentors (Bigs) to provide support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples.
(Fortunately, I have a whole bag of GOOD LORD, DON’T DO THIS!!! examples.)

Like this. But completely different.

Like this.
But completely different.


I don’t know if I can clearly articulate why I want to do this. I don’t see myself as particularly altruistic, or someone who thinks “I must give every last bit to help everyone else!!!”, and there are those who could probably put forth good arguments that I’m a dick.
I don’t know. I’ve always thought of myself as “just this guy”, and that’s enough for me.

I’ve had my struggles, but overall, my life hasn’t been overly difficult. As a Straight White Male, I live on what John Scalzi calls the easy setting. But I know that’s just because of luck. Spin the wheel in either direction, just a little, and either by birth or consequences of a myriad stupid decisions, my life could have been a lot harder. I don’t begrudge anyone else their success, and I’m not competitive enough to want to keep anyone else down so I can do well.
I think if you do well and I was there to help you out along the way, that’s enough for me. So why not lend a hand to a kid that needs one?

At the orientation, they’ll give us an idea of the kids we might be dealing with, of what we can do with them, and I probably what the boundaries are. They’ll pair me up with someone that shares my interests – hopefully the kid will like science fiction, (good) music, food. Maybe I’ll have something useful to the show the kid.
I have no idea.

But I know that however it goes, it will be worth the effort.
Who knows, maybe he’ll even have a thing for Hawaiian shirts!

145 responses to “Stepping Out Of The Box

  1. Yay for you touching a kid’s life with your awesomeness. Keep us posted?

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  2. You are exactly the person to do this – kind, compassionate, funny, and cool. And don’t say, “I’m just this guy.” Own it!
    Rock on, Guap!

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  3. Big Brothers Big Sisters is an incredible program! You really will touch a life in a positive way but I assure you….yours will be touched as well. I cannot wait to hear how this all plays out. I think you will be a fabulous mentor but be prepared to learn from your little brother.

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    • I expect I’ll be amazed and blown away by doing the program, and I hope to get as much out of it as the kid.

      (Who knows, maybe we’ll bond over cooking and pink salt…)

      Like

  4. This is a very generous thing to do. You seem like a pretty agreeable bloke so I think you’ll wear it well. You could change a life. It might even be your own! And just think of the fantastic blog posts we’re all in for. (See how I found something in it for me, too. Heh.)

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  5. This is brilliant. Kudos to you my friend :D Best of luck and please let us know how it goes xxx

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    • Thanks Dianne. It will probably take some time to start. They’ll need to interview me, then do a background check, which I understand is extensive.
      (That’ a good thing too, since it’s children.)

      Like

  6. This sounds wonderful – good luck!

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  7. I don’t know you well, Gaup but you are my hero for the month. Connection — that’s what it’s all about. I’m really looking forward to reading about this experience.

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  8. Ok, first let me say that you had me at banjo…and wow. That song rocked my morning!! Thank you for that!

    Second, I admire anyone that donates their time to a child in need. The children you’ll “work with” NEED someone WITHOUT an agenda to just be their friend. It sounds like your intentions are genuine and for that…you are awesome my friend. Please keep us posted!!

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    • Wasn’t that a fun song?
      I think it’ll be good for me and the kid to be able to just sit back and shoot the breeze, and maybe tell him something useful from time to time.

      Like

  9. It really does “take a village”….
    Welcome to the neighbourhood, El G.
    R.

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  10. Wow, great post.

    And on a serious note, I said it before but I’ll say it again. You’re a proper stand-up guy, Guap. And this is definitely something I’d like to get into one day. When I eventually grow up and don’t need a Big myself that is.

    Just don’t do any of the stuff they did in Role Models.

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  11. And in one short blog post you’ve managed to restore my faith in humanity. You’re a good egg.

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  12. That is going to be one lucky kid!! This post started my day on the right note, I’m so happy you are doing this for an organization I really believe in. He will be a much better person for having spent time with you. :)

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  13. This is a great idea, Guap. I’m sure you’ll make a positive impact on a child’s life. All you have to do is care.

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  14. This is great. My friend worked for a charity who did this for kids without father figures and assumed i would be a good candidate, you just had a few hours a week to take them out and do something fun. At the time I knew my habit of getting spontaneously drunk the night before would hamper me committing to being there the next day so wouldn’t have been fair.

    Love to hear how it goes.

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  15. The world needs more people like you, Guap. Much love to you for doing this.

    The world also needs more Hawaiian shirt aficionados, so it’s a win-win.

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  16. Awesomeness!! I hope the orientation goes well and that you get paired with a great kid. Whatever you do though, do not show him that picture of the dude in that horrendous mankini! :)

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  17. One of my good friends take a huge part in Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He says that the organization saved him as a kid.

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  18. That’s really nice. I know there are a lot of young people who could use a good role model in their lives. You don’t have to be altruistic or even mature (look at me) to make a difference to a kid.

    Also very cool that you put the button up to help my buddy Mer.

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  19. Guap, you’re a pretty fuckin’ cool guy with a huge heart ~ if I were a kid in need, I’d be delighted and thrilled to have you as a ‘big brother’ –

    You are completely amazing.

    Love & mush,
    Rutabaga

    Like

  20. This post started my day with a smile. It’s fabulous that you’re willing to step up to the plate to help a young person get a good start in life. Well done, you! I look forward to future posts about your exploits with your new Little Bro. Of course, I wouldn’t be a real Canadian if I didn’t suggest Live Child Fooseball as a good introductory activity!

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  21. First off, let me say that anytime you can find a way of connecting the movie “Slingblade” into a post, you win mega points in the “weirdly disturbing yet cool” category. =) You the man, Guap ! =)

    But seriously, the way you can impact a child is nothing short of miraculous, and I think you are going to be awesome in this venture !!!!! =) It is a great thing to share of yourself, especially with someone who needs the interaction a little more than your average kid. =)

    Good on you, and have a wonderful time… ! Here’s to life’s next great adventure ! =)

    ps- can totally see you with a mini-me, all decked out in Hawaiian print. =)

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    • When I decided to post this, that pic jumped instantly to mind!

      It sounds like the organization also has effective techniques for drawing out a kid who needs it, so it will be nice to have their resources as I do this.

      Like

  22. That is really awesome. I’m excited for you to do this. This week I had a child spend the entire week with us. She is a friend of my daughters. She was invited for one day but she didn’t want to go home. I wanted to just listen to her and be there for her. You can make a difference in people’s life if you just take the time with children. At least that’s how I feel. Proud of you.

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  23. I am so f&%$@#g proud of you right now…

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  24. Kudos to you for taking the time to shape the future of this country. If more people cared enough to pay attention the world would be a better place.

    Now I must go in search of a wah-wah pedal for my banjo. Who knew such a thing was possible? You’ve boggled my mind today, G :-)

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  25. Interesting to see you do this. Very good as well I believe! Maybe it’s just because you want to share all your wild stories? ;)

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  26. Guap, you will be the best Big! Between your love of music, crazy, and your sense of humor, your Little will be a lucky one. As will you.

    Do not teach him to drink naked for a few years, though.

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  27. This is awesome, Guap! Good for you. Nothing really feels better than giving.

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  28. I always wanted to do that myself, but never did. Good for you…
    Biscuits and mustard, mmm hmmm.

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  29. Awww, seriously so sweet. Whoever they pair you with is a very lucky child.

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  30. Yay you. Great idea and maybe it will inspire others to do the same?

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  31. This is so cool, ElGuap! I have always wondered about doing something like this. Do you get to take the kid to movies and outings? Keep us posted, I would love to hear more!

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    • They have a whole bunch of suggested activities, including free/discount tickets for events.
      One of the nice things for me will be seeing things I’ve alreadly seen through the kid’s eyes.

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  32. Wonderful! I hope you both have lots of fun.

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  33. Definitely let us know how it goes! I’ve thought about doing something like this, but I’m sick all the damn time and I’m afraid that makes me really unreliable. I should look into a different way to help. Look at that, you’re an inspiration! ;)

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  34. “I think if you do well and I was there to help you out along the way, that’s enough for me.”—Love this line! Altruism at it’s finest (even if you don’t think you’re altruistic, which you are, but you’re wonderfully humble, too). You will undoubtedly make a fabulous Big Brother. Good on you!

    Like

  35. What a great thing you’re doing! Maybe you can even teach him how to blog if he has an interest in writing. :) It’s such a great outlet.

    For the love of God do not wear a Hawaiian shirt or teach him that it’s a good thing!

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  36. I am SO PROUD of you, Guap! Wow, what a lucky kid he will be to pair up with you and share some time, fun, and role modeling. I can think of at least a hundred reasons why you would be a good Big, but I think you wrote it yourself in this post; especially that 2nd paragraph after the picture. Obviously we have never met in person but I know from our blog interaction that you are a man of integrity, sensitivity, adventure, and honor. Those are qualities that are rare and often missing altogether in adults and I applaud you (with vigor!) for choosing to share yourself with a child whose life may not have received the same opportunities you had. Can’t wait to read about it, too!!! xxxL

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  37. You rock! That simple.
    I volunteer at Hospice every week, because that’s my gig. I feel good every time I leave there. I know I’ve helped someone else, and I love the work I do. I also help teens with their college apps (tutor them in writing), and love that as well. It’s so clichéd, but we really do get so much from giving.

    I really believe that there is a kid out there who’s life is about to get a whole lot better… knowing you, and knowing that you care enough to connect. Having worked as a therapist with troubled teens, for years, I can tell you that you are doing something really needed, and really special; there are far too few of you… and your life will never be the same again either. You rock!

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  38. Dude, best of luck with things. I think you are a good man for helping out like this. And you’re right, things could have gone either way long ago, and that could be us needing some support.

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  39. Guap, mate, I was a youth worker for over 20 very stressful, very satisfying years, I then migrated to being Pastor for 5 very stressful, very (unsatisfying doesn’t cut it) depleting years…now I’m just a guy with a normal job and 4 teenagers who want to hang around and bring their mates over. I have a feeling you are going to love this! Good on you man. Respect REDdog

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  40. This should be very interesting. Am looking forward to your blog about this organization, and your impressions. I have a feeling you have lots to contribute to young people in need of someone to talk to and who will listen.

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  41. Woohoo! One of these kids has no idea how wicked cool his life is about to become. Talk about a great mentor! You can teach him about computers, introduce him to surfing, show him how to do a naked bar slide… okay, maybe not that one.

    Congratulations, and good for you on choosing to step out of your comfort zone.

    (Can I sign up to be a little brother, in hopes of getting a crazy, fun big brother like you?)

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  42. Good for you to be doing this, El G. I’m sure you will be a great mentor, and whichever kid is lucky enough to get you, will really benefit from the experience. Of course, there’s always the possibility that he will be able to teach you something too. :)

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    • Thank you! I think it’s more than likely he’ll teach me something. One of the things I like about kids is that they have completely different perspectives, and don’t yet know that some things can’t be done.

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  43. Funnily enough I was thinking of doing something similar here in Australia called Aunties and Uncles. It’s the same concept, mentoring and spending time with kids from about 5-12 years old. I looked into it and decided to volunteer at my local children’s hospital instead. I start my training tonight!! I might still get involved with Aunties and Uncles and I’d love to hear your experiences! it’s an awesome thing to do :)

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  44. That is so great! I think you’ll find it very rewarding and I think he will be a very lucky kid!! :D

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  45. What everyone else said…you are perfect to be a ‘big’!

    That will be one lucky kid, to learn about music, sci-fi, Hawaiian shirts, and FUN, from the Guap.

    Perfect!

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  46. There will be much to learn from you my great friend and the unknown elements of this bonding will offer so much more, after all when someone reaches out and there is help given freely it gives a lot more than just encouragement. It gives a positive vibe to every hour spent, I mean some kid’s go through life without being able to adjust to the outside world, they are lonely and stand back from the crowd when all it needs is a bit of encouragement, a push towards gaining confidence.

    Offering yourself forward in this way will add a guiding light and a tremendous richness to any kid’s life, of that I have no doubts my great friend. Your knowledge and wisdom will enhance those young minds, nurturing them and feeding a desire to learn more.

    You are one in a million Guap and
    I am honoured to call you my friend.

    Andro

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    • Thanks so much, Andro. My thinking is along those lines too, but not as eloquent.

      Likewise, and the honor is mine.
      (But you can keep the extra “u”.) ;)

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  47. This is the first time I’ve heard of this organization, we don’t have it here. It sounds like a great initiative !
    And there is no one better than you to be a part of this. We are our own worst critics. You are going to rock this Gaupo ! Fingers crossed . I hope this turns out to be an awesome experience for you :)
    P.S I can only wish there is something like Big Sisters as well :D

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  48. Good for you!! You’re inspiring me to think about how to help in my community, which is a good thing!

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  49. Yay! I’ve found someone who can take on my teenage daughter!!! Buying the ticket RIGHT NOW. She is just going to LOVE New York! Seriously, best advice I can give you (somebody’s got to do it) Just be yourself! Cheesy but so true. Although that’s not quite working for the teenager – OK, I retract that!

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  50. I think this is a great idea. There are lots of cool fun things you can do with kids, and you’d be surprised how little it takes to make the whole world different for a kid. I like working with kids because it gives me the chance to act like a kid and do things like color, jump rope, watch kids movies, play games, etc without any judgement. While I’m just having fun, it sometimes makes a big difference for them to see someone cares what they have to say and wants to be around them. It’s simple, but sometimes surprisingly meaningful. Have fun with it!

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    • Thanks! I think acting like a kid will easy for me. It’s the more responsible stuff that makes me nervous. I think as long as I listen to the kid and don’t try and force him to be a certain way, I should be all right.

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  51. While I have never been a Big Sister, I have been a stepmother to lots of kids & I sometimes think this is just as important. Kids want to know there is always someone out there who cares about them (whether you’re related by blood or not), someone who is interested in what they like (I even learned how to play Dungeons & Dragons to help the son of a boyfriend between H1 & H2), someone they can look up to & who will be consistent with them. Model the way they should act, don’t just tell them. You will be great Guaps & any young man would be lucky to get you as a Big Brother.

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  52. I wish you much success and thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone. My brother’s Big Brother made a big difference in his life.

    Like

Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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