I recently made the decision to become a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City. There were a ton of reasons why I did this but most of them revolved around me trying to undo the catastrophic damage that Justin Bieber and Swag have surely done to the generation under me.
This generation never had a chance.
While I’d hope that people would want to help these kids out of the goodness of their hearts, I realize that most people need to be incentivized – much like your lazy family dog that needs a treat for everything it does, including going to the bathroom. Here are the top benefits as I see them.
1. You get legit excuses to watch superhero movies and play laser tag
Now that I’m a married man and am burdened with real life responsibilities, I simply have no time or real reasons to nerd out. When I was younger, we’d spend hours watching movies while eating processed cheese, sugar and the delicious ambrosia of youthful aspirations while shunning any real responsibility over a glass of Sunny D.
Why? Because this is America and we were free.
Now that I’m a Big Brother, I’m free to go dominate people playing laser tag if we want (my code name would be King Ramses and my reign would surely be supreme) and watch nerdy movies WHILE CLAIMING IT TO BE A REAL WORLD SERVICE AND RESPONSIBILITY. Seriously. I do these super fun things and people think of me as being responsible. How little they really know…
2. It helps you get your life together
While I do try to make it a point in my life not to take anything too seriously (we’re all floating through space on a giant rock traveling at 66,000mph … do you think that late timesheet really matters?) it does help to have something that focuses you. While I get to play laser tag, shoot BB Guns and have epic debates on whether Thor or Superman would win in a fight (Thor), it’s actually up to me to plan and organize all of this. Having to pick up my little and have everything planned out is a bit of work. But at the same time, it’s a fantastic reminder that you’re a grown ass man (or women) and within you lies an actually adult. It’s a powerful feeling. Make plans. Keep to them. Destroy the weak with lasers.
3. Video games.
Two identical scenarios. One with Big Brothers and one without.
Without Big Brothers:
“Hey Katie, I’m going to play some video games.”
“We need to do laundry, meal plan, hang clothes up, go to the grocery store, call our mothers, go over the budget, change your oil, do the dishes, talk about our feelings and balance Americas deficit.”
With Big Brothers
“Hey Katie, Roberto and I are going to play video games.”
“You two have fun!”
I feel like I’ve found the ultimate cheat code.
4. New experiences/Culture shock
Roberto’s (my little brother) parents don’t speak english. You’d think this would be a problem. But it’s not. They are really nice people and it’s actually a ton of fun to try and have a conversation with them. We usually rely on Roberto to translate but most of the time we point, smile, nod and shake our way through the conversation. All while his little sister looks up at me with an inquisitive look of “Who is this pale giant in my living room and why does he take up so much of the couch?” She’s seriously adorable.
I thought being a big brother would be so much harder than it is. It’s honestly amazing. Perhaps it was just a great match but I always have a ton of fun hanging out with my little. So if you’ve ever thought about it, you should at least contact your local Big Brother Big Sister and sit through the introduction class. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The only negative I can think of is that these kids will be much better than you at video games, which bothers me way more than it should.