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Empowering Children

Article posted on Tuesday, August, 10th, 2010 at 8:00 am

You hear it all the time. Non-Profit Organizations say it, Schools say it, Psychologists say it, Politicians say it – (I’m really annoyed by politicians though.)

“You have to break the cycle.”

It’s so true.  But it’s hard to know exactly what you can do to help “break the cycle” though.  Cycles of poverty, ignorance, hunger, abuse….unfortunately, there is no shortage of things that aren’t getting done.

I am inspired by reading stories about people who do little things that turn into big things. Because it’s those big things that start to “break the cycle.” And if it weren’t for the little things – the big things would never happen.

This week, I didn’t have to look far for that inspiration. In fact – this particular source of inspiration actually married my little sister.  (But that wasn’t the little thing I’m talking about here.)  My brother-in-law, Jon Potter, was awarded Big Brother of the Year this week through the BigBrother BigSister Organization.

Potter (that’s what we call him) has been a Big Brother for 6 years and he takes it seriously.  He’s had 2 little brothers and his current little Brother, Darius Williams, is 13 years old.  Potter is a busy guy – he works full time as an Engineer, travels a lot, maintains a meticulous yard, and keeps my little sister happy (which can’t be easy ;-) but he still finds time to do little things that make a big impact on Darius.  It’s easy to see that relationships like Potter’s and Darius are more about quality than quantity.

At the Big Brother Banquet, Potter’s previous little brother, Stephen, was given a chance to speak in front of the audience.  For a child that could barely read and write a year ago….writing a speech, articulating his feelings, and then speaking in front of an audience is a really big deal!  He ended his speech by saying, “I can only hope that I can be half the man he (Potter) is when I grow up.”

Darius also took a quick turn at the microphone. And when he talked about what it feels like when Potter goes to his football games to watch him play he said, “It makes me wanna play better instead of slacking, I try to give 110 percent instead of 100 percent.”

And that my friends – is what it sounds like when “the cycle breaks.”

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