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Big Brothers

We have a few 'big brothers' in our house. Our oldest, *J* is 16, *E* is 7, and *C* is 5 and preparing to be a big brother. Each looks up to the other with wide eyed-admiration and I can only imagine what is running through their mind as they interact with, play with, compete with, teach each other.

We spent the early-afternoon at the zoo yesterday.  *J* brought his girlfriend and *E* did not want to leave their side. He was their shadow; their tour guide; their third-wheel. I stayed kind of ahead so as not to crowd them (and to find an occasional bench to sit on) and *C* stayed up ahead with me.

As I watched *J* and *E* stroll through the different exhibits I completely saw the value in programs like "Big Brothers / Big Sisters". Especially for those families that don't have the influence of a dad or mom in their lives. (Even a 12 month deployment can have major influence on a boy missing his dad, or a girl missing her mom.) Kids want older-kids to look up to! They want to know how to 'be a man' or 'be a woman'. Older brothers and sisters have an incredible amount of influence on the generations that follow them.  I realize that my influence on my own children is vast ... but I'm not the only influence in their lives and I don't want to be!  I want there to be plenty of other positive influences to shape them and mold them.

Last night, as I was cuddling with *C* on the couch, he put his hand on my 8 month pregnant belly and he asked if 'baby was sleeping'. I told him he was and then I asked him if he was looking forward to being a big brother. With wide eyes he looked up at me and said "Oh, yes! *BabyBoy* is going to love me!"

I know he will. And I know that all three of *BabyBoy*'s big brothers will love him and play with him, he will be a great shadow and even the "4th wheel" as our family grows to completion!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com


PS - If your teenager is looking for a 'volunteer' opportunity find out if there is a need for mentorship in your neighborhood and community; perhaps at a post / base youth-center, at your church, or even kids down the street. A child 8, 9 or 10 years old will really enjoy the companionship of a 14, 15 or 16 year old that *understands* the military way of life; a been-there-done-that influence is a great esteem builder!

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