The Gift of Service

Nicola has not had an easy road in raising her two boys Tyler and Josh.

Nicola has faced tough times while raising her two boys, but she is a strong woman and has built a solid life for herself and her family. Big Buddy came into her family’s life a couple of years ago and Nicola wanted to share their story.

My oldest son Tyler was sorted, he had a great connection with his uncle and was engaged in sports. Tyler has had some amazing trustworthy coaches and made friends with boys that come from families with active, engaged and reliable Dads.

Josh was my worry. He was hurting and wanting a man in his life but didn’t want to play sports or join any clubs. He wants to create the club or sport not play by other people’s rules, and he was fearing rejection. This I found frustrating and triggering. He was also dealing with your average mean teenage behaviour in the house. And a couple of really good friends had moved out of Auckland. “He needs a Big Buddy”, was my thought.

I registered with Big Buddy and we went through the process of meeting, trialling and then committing. Communication and boundaries were clear. I felt safe and supported. A big thanks to our Mentoring Manager Martin Hosking for being himself, he was great.

Josh was a little nervous and also excited. I was a little nervous and hopeful that all would be okay. It didn’t take long for Josh to be connected with our Big Buddy Matt, and their relationship sprouted – From my point of view, he was and still is a perfect match.

When we began this process the biggest thing Josh believed he was missing out on by not having a Dad in his life, was money, stuff, living in a mansion and not having to always be on a budget. Being his mum and wanting him to become an honest, respectful, empathetic and grateful young man that connects with others and contributes to society, I knew that he needed more than money and his mother.

It was important to me that Josh have a man in his life that shared my values and was willing to model them for him. From all the education I had engaged in, I knew that boys need men of character, not just money. Josh now agrees with me. He will make his own money one day.

I think that being abandoned is one of the most emotionally traumatic things a human will go through. It is so hard to understand and make sense of and often results in internalising blame and feeling unworthy. As a mother, I couldn’t protect my sons from this experience. I tried so hard. I can honestly say that I tried everything possible without losing me, their mother.

I couldn’t protect Josh or Tyler from experiencing abandonment by their fathers, that I feel sad about.

Thanks to Big Buddy and the gift of service that all the staff and our Big Buddy Matt signed up for, I’ve been able to facilitate the most amazing relationship with a man that is so, so wonderful.

He is reliable, responsible, patient, and communicates extremely well. He’s honest, fun and treats Josh with such kindness while instilling manners and a set of shared values. He backs me up, and tells me what a wonderful job I have done and what an amazing boy Josh is. I now feel respected, valued, supported and proud. And I no longer feel the pressure to date, or meet a “rich man” for Josh.

During their two years together they have built a few projects in Matt’s furniture factory, including an amazing bedside table for Josh, been on walks, to the museum, and markets. They have done many jobs, bought gifts together, helped out family members, and been to the zoo with Matt’s older son. They have biked, played at the beach, walked his dog Razz, been rock climbing, played frisbee golf, and eaten ice cream. During these outings, they share their thoughts, feelings, ideas and creations.

When Josh thinks about Matt he talks about a man code – this is rules that a man follows – I have no idea what they are. I am trusting the process.

When Josh feels the hurt over his father not being around I remind him that Matt chooses to hang with him, so he must be pretty cool and definitely worthy of his attention and time. Matt doesn’t have to, he gives because he values the father/male/parental role, as do I. He tells me that he gets so much joy from Josh, so knowing that my situation/story is giving him the opportunity to serve others takes away the feeling of being a burden, a duty for someone, or a victim.

Josh is thriving at school, he is making friends and feels confident to express his feelings and articulate his needs and wants. We have some great discussions and debates. And Father’s Day is no longer the worst day of our lives.

I want to thank everyone that is involved with Big Buddy. Especially our big buddy Matt.

To make a donation to Big Buddy click here. To become a Big Buddy click here. To apply for a Big Buddy for your boy click here.

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