Reasons for thanks, and other questions of values

Carol

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A fellow I know is in a situation that has been making me think about a lot of things.

For the last several years he has been active in the Big Brother Association of New England. He had one "little brother" for a few years. I asked him how that worked, he said it worked out great. I asked him if he ever ran out of things to do with the young man...he said no, that they went out sometimes, but he often seemed happy to come over to the house to watch the game and eat pizza, or play cards, or ask for help with his homework. My friend then said the little brother outgrew him and was going off in to the world as a young man...and a fairly decent one, by the sound of it. So now my friend has another "little brother". My friend is not as happy with the relationship he has with this fellow. The little brother seems to be under the impression that his big brother is just there to take him places and buy him stuff. My friend seems even more disappointed because he can't get the little brother involved in any conversation...that he just speaks in two or three word sentences whenever he is spoken to Unless, of course, he's asking someone to buy something for him...then he pipes up. And after my friend buys stuff or does stuff with the little guy, he never says thanks. If he says anything at all its something like "Where you taking me next time?"


I think my friend is trying to give his time and efforts to situations where his values are a match, and can understand why he is upset.

A galpal of mine thinks my guy friend has no right to be upset, that one shouldn't do charity work expecting to be thanked.


So...since the season of giving is upon us...what do you think of the situation? Do you find it easy to reconcile with your own beliefs?
 

hkfuie

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Oh, great question!

I think if your friend is disappointed with the match, then he is disappointed with the match. :)

Someone else might be a better match for this kid.

If he wants a rewarding relationship out of his volunteer time, that is not too much to ask.

Maybe your galpal can volunteer to be this kid's bigsis. :)
 

Blindside

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If I'm dropping food off in a donation bin, I don't expect thanks, but this is more than that. The whole intention here is to develop a relationship with someone who is theoretically a good role model, the key word being relationship. And in a relationship between two people, any two people, thanking someone is generally good form and good manners.
 

Kacey

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When I was a kid, my grandfather had a dog, from the time the dog was a puppy until he was 18. When that dog finally died, my grandfather waited a few months and then got another puppy. The second puppy was a great young pup - but he wasn't the first dog, and my grandfather kept expecting the new dog to do what the old dog did.

Perhaps your friend is having the same problem - he remembers what his first little brother was like at the end, and not the beginning - but there's no way to know.
 

Xue Sheng

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I think my friend is trying to give his time and efforts to situations where his values are a match, and can understand why he is upset.

A galpal of mine thinks my guy friend has no right to be upset, that one shouldn't do charity work expecting to be thanked.


So...since the season of giving is upon us...what do you think of the situation? Do you find it easy to reconcile with your own beliefs?

Should he be doing this just to be thanked? IMO no.

But he should not be taken advantage of either and it sounds like this may be the case here. Frankly, IMO, he has a right to be upset, now he just has figure out if he is going to take it or move on
 

Gordon Nore

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Carol,

I moved your quotes around a bit because a couple of things caught my eye. I don't want to armchair this too much because, obviously, you know your friend, and I don't. I assume if a kid has a Big Brother, it's to give him relationships with adult males that he hasn't experienced before.

The little brother seems to be under the impression that his big brother is just there to take him places and buy him stuff.

And after my friend buys stuff or does stuff with the little guy, he never says thanks. If he says anything at all its something like "Where you taking me next time?"

Your friend is trapped in a pattern, perhaps unwittingly, but this is working out for the little brother. The kid has figured out a quid pro quo -- Buy me something, and I'll talk. There's a bunch of parents out there trying to score social time with children by bribing them.

My friend seems even more disappointed because he can't get the little brother involved in any conversation...that he just speaks in two or three word sentences whenever he is spoken to Unless, of course, he's asking someone to buy something for him...

There are probably better people to counsel your friend, but I would suggest they go someplace and do something where purchasing a gift is not an option. Even if big bro has to pay for it, I think he would better off to find an activity the kid will like, and they can do together. Batting cage, a craft activity, event at a library, something like that. I would imagine that Big Brothers does not expect the man to purchase gifts.

If the kid wants to eat, they can cook a meal together. If private in-home activities are not possible (dunno what the rules are), I'm sure they could grill a meal in one of those public BBQ's you find in a park. There might be an agreement, that the two will do such-n-such then have lunch, and that's it.

They get together, the adult announces the itinerary, or callls the kid ahead of time. If the child makes the effort, they can plan together for future outings that don't involve popping for presents.[/quote]

A galpal of mine thinks my guy friend has no right to be upset, that one shouldn't do charity work expecting to be thanked.

People shouldn't be out-of-pocket necessarily for doing charitable works either, but that may be beyond the comprehension of this boy. Getting the kid to a point where he shows appreciation and thanks, without being given something, would be a good step towards his healthy socialization.

As for the kid not opening up, that's a tough one. Waiting it out with a kid that won't talk doesn't really do much, and it's natural for your friend to resort what has made the kid talk in the past. This is where I think it's really good to vary activities and hope to come across something that catches the kid off guard and gets him talking. At the same, your friend should harbour expectation that this kid is going to spill his life story on a stranger, particularly when he gets rewarded for his silence.
 

Rich Parsons

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A fellow I know is in a situation that has been making me think about a lot of things.

For the last several years he has been active in the Big Brother Association of New England. He had one "little brother" for a few years. I asked him how that worked, he said it worked out great. I asked him if he ever ran out of things to do with the young man...he said no, that they went out sometimes, but he often seemed happy to come over to the house to watch the game and eat pizza, or play cards, or ask for help with his homework. My friend then said the little brother outgrew him and was going off in to the world as a young man...and a fairly decent one, by the sound of it. So now my friend has another "little brother". My friend is not as happy with the relationship he has with this fellow. The little brother seems to be under the impression that his big brother is just there to take him places and buy him stuff. My friend seems even more disappointed because he can't get the little brother involved in any conversation...that he just speaks in two or three word sentences whenever he is spoken to Unless, of course, he's asking someone to buy something for him...then he pipes up. And after my friend buys stuff or does stuff with the little guy, he never says thanks. If he says anything at all its something like "Where you taking me next time?"


I think my friend is trying to give his time and efforts to situations where his values are a match, and can understand why he is upset.

A galpal of mine thinks my guy friend has no right to be upset, that one shouldn't do charity work expecting to be thanked.


So...since the season of giving is upon us...what do you think of the situation? Do you find it easy to reconcile with your own beliefs?


There are few things that people can actually control in their life. One of them is how others react or act. But what control he does have is to request a new little brother. Being a long time support I would expect that they would be willing to work with him. I know it might seem like it is "Cherry picking" the good children, but if he has no enjoyment out of it eventually he will stop. Not only will he stop, but he will not talk well about the system, and others may not get involved.

At worse case maybe he needs to take a break and then try again later.
 

shesulsa

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The way this kid is behaving is likely the very reason he was put in the program. This is the kind of kid who NEEDS the program.

Some folks seem to forget that volunteer work - especially in youth mentorship - is, indeed, *work.* Some patience paid to the young man and some careful guidance could help him. But if he winds up leaving the program there's little your friend can do.

In Girl Scouts, I was given recognition awards from the other registered adult Girl Scouts in my community - our girls did not do anything for us on Leader Appreciation Day - but I was never there for the awards nor recognition. When the girls had trouble or displayed deplorable behavior or had a question of ethics or played "The Game" with each other and a couple loathed me ... those were the times to roll up the sleeves and get to the real work of youth mentoring. Getting messy. Listening to diatribes you outgrew decades ago.

One girl - only one - received some humorous admonition from me (she wouldn't quit talking during the meeting so I sat on her) she was later visually upset but then, still clearly not happy, thanked me for the lesson. She did learn it and is the only one really able to take on leading the meetings and organizing the troop.

I think every volunteer must come to a point (oftentimes more than once) where they must remind themselves why they are doing what they are doing. Challenge their limits. Learn something new about an unfamiliar problem OR a statistically typical social issue (such as rudeness and expectation) and how to work around it.

I suggest he get an adult mentor in the program himself and see if he can get some good advice.

I hope he finds peace in his service.

:asian:
 

Jade Tigress

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The way this kid is behaving is likely the very reason he was put in the program. This is the kind of kid who NEEDS the program.

This is exactly what I was thinking. Apparently, no one has taught this child that's it's rude to ask for things and it's rude to not say thank you.
 

Rich Parsons

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The way this kid is behaving is likely the very reason he was put in the program. This is the kind of kid who NEEDS the program.

Some folks seem to forget that volunteer work - especially in youth mentorship - is, indeed, *work.* Some patience paid to the young man and some careful guidance could help him. But if he winds up leaving the program there's little your friend can do.

In Girl Scouts, I was given recognition awards from the other registered adult Girl Scouts in my community - our girls did not do anything for us on Leader Appreciation Day - but I was never there for the awards nor recognition. When the girls had trouble or displayed deplorable behavior or had a question of ethics or played "The Game" with each other and a couple loathed me ... those were the times to roll up the sleeves and get to the real work of youth mentoring. Getting messy. Listening to diatribes you outgrew decades ago.

One girl - only one - received some humorous admonition from me (she wouldn't quit talking during the meeting so I sat on her) she was later visually upset but then, still clearly not happy, thanked me for the lesson. She did learn it and is the only one really able to take on leading the meetings and organizing the troop.

I think every volunteer must come to a point (oftentimes more than once) where they must remind themselves why they are doing what they are doing. Challenge their limits. Learn something new about an unfamiliar problem OR a statistically typical social issue (such as rudeness and expectation) and how to work around it.

I suggest he get an adult mentor in the program himself and see if he can get some good advice.

I hope he finds peace in his service.

:asian:

"G",

Very good points. I know a local guy who had one chold as a little brother, had similar issues as described and tried telling him no and then tried to help him on the right way or polite way or proper way of asking or doing things as the case may be. The problem was that the kid knew the system and when he did not get what he wanted he complained about his big brother. They were separated, and he was given another child to try to work with. This one was work but it was not as painful as the child would listen and learn, and not just make claims. I did not give that information when I gave my recommendation. My points were from different data sets.

Thanks
 

Tez3

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This is exactly what I was thinking. Apparently, no one has taught this child that's it's rude to ask for things and it's rude to not say thank you.


I think is is a very common thing these days sadly. I think too that adults now find spending money on children is a much easier thing to do than actually communicate with or spend time with their children. There seems to be a large part of society that seems to think that loving your child/ren means buying them lots of toys, clothes, gadgets etc. Now children equate being given things with being given attention and love.

With Christmas coming up people are getting into debt they will spend the rest of next year paying off to give their children a 'good' Christmas ie lots of presents. the media is full of parents moaning that the recession is ruining their Christmas because they don't have to much to spend!

It may be that this boy has grown up equating presents as attention and therefore not only doesn't feel the need to say thank you but sees them as his right. If he is used to getting toys, sweets whatever instead of attention he may not know how to respond to 'true' attention.
 
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Touch Of Death

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A fellow I know is in a situation that has been making me think about a lot of things.

For the last several years he has been active in the Big Brother Association of New England. He had one "little brother" for a few years. I asked him how that worked, he said it worked out great. I asked him if he ever ran out of things to do with the young man...he said no, that they went out sometimes, but he often seemed happy to come over to the house to watch the game and eat pizza, or play cards, or ask for help with his homework. My friend then said the little brother outgrew him and was going off in to the world as a young man...and a fairly decent one, by the sound of it. So now my friend has another "little brother". My friend is not as happy with the relationship he has with this fellow. The little brother seems to be under the impression that his big brother is just there to take him places and buy him stuff. My friend seems even more disappointed because he can't get the little brother involved in any conversation...that he just speaks in two or three word sentences whenever he is spoken to Unless, of course, he's asking someone to buy something for him...then he pipes up. And after my friend buys stuff or does stuff with the little guy, he never says thanks. If he says anything at all its something like "Where you taking me next time?"


I think my friend is trying to give his time and efforts to situations where his values are a match, and can understand why he is upset.

A galpal of mine thinks my guy friend has no right to be upset, that one shouldn't do charity work expecting to be thanked.


So...since the season of giving is upon us...what do you think of the situation? Do you find it easy to reconcile with your own beliefs?
These kids come from troubled pasts. Expecting gratitude is folly, but If I were him I would seek professional advice on how to reach this kid.
Sean
 

hkfuie

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Wow. Everyone's responses are much better thought out than my original response!

Excellent points.

It's true that some parents mistake a "good" Christmas with lots of gifts, which is much easier than giving of the self - spending time with the child with full presence of attention.

So many people made this same point in various ways and now I have to join in and agree.

While I don't think your friend would be wrong to ask for a different match, the point that this behavior is exactly WHY he needs a good big bro match is the most important point to consider.

If he is not really interested in trying to break through that wall, then he probably should get a new match and hope this kid gets matched up with someone who wants to take on the challenge.

It is the same as being a teacher in martial arts...students WANT rank, to learn the cool stuff right away, etc. But a responsible teacher balances that with giving the student what he needs: a solid foundation in basics.

The kid acts like he wants gifts, but what he NEEDS is someone to help him learn to have a healthy relationship that rewards him in ways other than presents.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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This child sounds like he needs a big brother to help teach him how to act/behave. Simple things like saying thank you, etc. Hopefully your friend is up for the task.
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Carol

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Wow. Everyone's responses are much better thought out than my original response!

Your response was well thought-out as well hkfuie. Your input, especially in the backdrop of the other responses, really showcase the conflict that my friend is feeling.

Unfortunately I don't see my friends as often as I like because of my stupid work hours. I hope to see them next week when I am back from vacation, hopefully I can post a bit more about what the fellow has decided to do.
 

GBlues

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A fellow I know is in a situation that has been making me think about a lot of things.

For the last several years he has been active in the Big Brother Association of New England. He had one "little brother" for a few years. I asked him how that worked, he said it worked out great. I asked him if he ever ran out of things to do with the young man...he said no, that they went out sometimes, but he often seemed happy to come over to the house to watch the game and eat pizza, or play cards, or ask for help with his homework. My friend then said the little brother outgrew him and was going off in to the world as a young man...and a fairly decent one, by the sound of it. So now my friend has another "little brother". My friend is not as happy with the relationship he has with this fellow. The little brother seems to be under the impression that his big brother is just there to take him places and buy him stuff. My friend seems even more disappointed because he can't get the little brother involved in any conversation...that he just speaks in two or three word sentences whenever he is spoken to Unless, of course, he's asking someone to buy something for him...then he pipes up. And after my friend buys stuff or does stuff with the little guy, he never says thanks. If he says anything at all its something like "Where you taking me next time?"


I think my friend is trying to give his time and efforts to situations where his values are a match, and can understand why he is upset.

A galpal of mine thinks my guy friend has no right to be upset, that one shouldn't do charity work expecting to be thanked.


So...since the season of giving is upon us...what do you think of the situation? Do you find it easy to reconcile with your own beliefs?

While you shouldn't do charity work to be thanked, in my mind that is not what your friend is doing. I've thought about joining a big brother program, but never knew how it worked. I had imagined it as being somebody's surrogate big brothers. Brothers sit around and watch t.v. with there siblings, (eh, sometimes, I was a big brother to my sisters growing up), they play video games. They don't necassarily buy them things, and when they do it is proper etiquette for your sibling to say, "Thank you." It most definitely is not too much to ask, that this young boy be polite. My sisters very seldom asked me for anything, once in a blue moon, and if I decided to buy them something, it was my choice, and they did say, "Thank you." The same is true with my nieces. One in particular is the oldest, and she and I used to hang out all the time. Go play video games, watch movies, sit and watch t.v., and when she comes to visit, now we play basketball, etc... Always I got a thank you for doing those things for her, wasn't necassary I enjoyed doing those things with her, but it did feel good.

When the boy asks, "Where are you taking me next time?" I would reply with, "I don't know I'll have to think about it." Then when it was time to go pick him up, or if he gets dropped off at your house, I'd go to the park and play frisbee, or catch or something that doesn't really cost money, and keep the frisbee and football, or baseball for the next time, or whenever. If he gets angry, I'd tell him, "Sorry man, you broke me the last time out. I don't have any money to spend. I spent what little I had on the frisbee, but I thought you'd have fun." That's all. If the boy doesn't like it, he'll get a new big brother. However, he may have a good time, and if he does, then maybe he could even buy the twerp an ice cream cone, at the end, but not if he asks for it. If he asks, "Sorry, I don't have the money. Maybe next time." He'll learn real quick big brother is broke, and stop asking after awhile. Then they can get too, a real big brother little brother relationship. In my opinion.
 
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