GUEST EDITORIAL- Mentorship: a rewarding experience

My decision to be a Big Brother was made in May 2009 while I was unemployed. My daily routine was to wake up around noon, apply for jobs on the computer, and then retreat back to my house where I would watch Supernatural until it was late enough to go out drinking.
Now this isn’t a bad way to spend a day or two. But when it becomes all you do, you begin to feel like you’re wasting your life. The feeling that I was going through the motions led me to join Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada.
In June of this year, I met my little brother, Isaiah, for the first time. I treated him to dinner at Joey’s Only Seafood Restaurant. During our meal, I chatted with him trying to get an understanding of what his life was like, and to see what kind of things he would be interested in doing. Turned out he was interested in two things: cooking and the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). I don’t really enjoy either of these activities. However, we would cook
and/or bake at least twice a month and end up watching some WWE Raw while we enjoyed our often burnt meals.
It’s hard to tell if you are having an impact on young kids, especially if you’re only seeing them once a week. You don’t know if they are learning anything from you, or just brushing off the lessons you try to teach them. I was lucky enough to get proof.
One day after I picked him up, he looked at me and said “Derek, I got 100 per cent on my math test!” For me it wasn’t that he got a good grade, it was that he was so happy he did. To me this was all the proof that I needed to know that he was listening and that I was being a positive influence on him.
If you’re looking for a way to give your life a little more meaning, help someone who genuinely needs it. Become a mentor. Making the time to do so is more rewarding than you might think.

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