How Being a Big Has Changed Me

How Being a Big Has Changed Me
Molding PlaydohDuring my sophomore year of high school, the opportunity to be a part of the Big Brother Big Sister program was offered to me. I began meeting with my little, Jax, that year, and this decision is something that I will forever treasure. Jax didn’t open up to me at first. We would begin our meetings in silence, would spend our 45 minute period together in silence, and then walk back to his classroom in silence. However, the reticence never made me feel uncomfortable nor made me question my advisor’s decision to match Jax and me together. I knew that slowly, in time, our meetings would be full of conversation and laughter. Thankfully, I was right.

Two years later, I’ve never had someone so excited to talk to me or spend time with me. Jax now tells me about his day as soon as I get him from his classroom and catches me up with everything that has happened in the week since I saw him. He trusts me with personal issues that are happening in his life and looks to me for guidance. Kim Browning, the BBBS advisor, said that Jax’s transformation from shy to outgoing is a process that she is proud to be a part of. When asked how Jax has changed since our first meeting, Kim stated, “By being consistent, patient and supportive, Shyann slowly gained his trust. Little by little, he would talk more. Even start conversations or give more detail than just one-worded answers. He smiles, even laughs out loud now. By spending one on one time with her, he has been able to let his sweet personality show, learn social skills, gain confidence, and feel like he fits in somewhere.” Even though Jax has flourished since our first meeting, I feel as though I have also changed and learned more about myself as time has gone on.

When I started BBBS, I didn’t think it was going to affect me in the ways it has. I just thought it was going to be an extra recess for whomever I was matched with and that in the end, we weren’t going to bond like I had heard every other member talk about. This is definitely not what it is like. I feel like I have added a new sibling to my family, someone whom I care deeply for and want to see succeed. I am to Jax what I needed when I was younger. Jax has taught me patience and compassion in our time together. I never thought he would ever open up to me and I would consistently get frustrated with the idea that he would never trust me enough to talk to me. Each meeting we had, the more patient I would grow because I knew if I worked hard enough and let him take his time warming up to me, then by some point, all the effort I put into our relationship would pay off. He has also taught me how just one kind task can change someone’s life. There is nothing that warms my heart more than when Jax tells people that I’m his best friend or gets a huge grin on his face when he sees that I’m there to hang out with him. Jax has taught me that the best things take time and his friendship is something I’m very appreciative to have earned.

My favorite day of the week is Wednesdays because I get to hang out with one of my favorite people. There is not anyone else in the world that I would rather build Play-Doh houses with or let them beat me in Uno (I say let beat me because I’m a sore loser, he’s just really good at it) This bond that I have formed with Jax is something that I hope doesn’t go away anytime soon and his progress throughout our time is something I’m honored to have been a part of. Even though I was the one that was brought in to change his life, he’s changed mine in more ways than I could ever imagine and I cannot thank him enough for that.

By: Shyann Finefrock