Mentors learn lessons from boys too

man and boy playing chess on grass

As Little Buddies absorb the often-subliminal lessons taught to them by their mentors, it’s not uncommon to find a Big Buddy feeling that his young charge occasionally has the upper hand.

Our Wellington coordinator, Dave Burcher, recently took an amusing call from one of his area’s mentors. Whilst out exploring Wellington’s south coast, Big Buddy Andrew experienced a sudden loss of balance as he leant over to study the rock pools. Needless to say he found himself up to his chest in the briny!

Keeping a cool head, he turned to his LB to help retrieve him from the water. The boy reached out his hand and eventually pulled Richard back onto dry land. Not one to miss an educational moment, Andrew told his LB that even though his role as a Big Buddy is to be the responsible, helpful one, it is important to welcome the opportunity to occasionally swap roles. The result was one happy, humble Big Buddy and one grinning, not-so-humble Little Buddy.

On a more academic note, Big Buddy Richard recounts an example that occurred a couple of years ago with his Little Buddy: “After 4 years of insisting he’d beat me one day, and after a momentary lapse of concentration on my part … my LB has finally beaten me at chess!! And I’m not hearing the end of it.”

Well, as American chess Grandmaster Bobby Fischer once wisely said: “That’s what Chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.”

We couldn’t sum up the Big and Little Buddy relationship better ourselves.