At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Confessions from the parent of a potential bully

In a recent Ipsos survey commissioned by Big Brothers Big Sisters and Invesco Canada, 59% of Canadians have revealed that they were bullied, when younger. That’s more than half the population. It got me thinking… who were all these people bullied by?

So here’s my confession... I have a child who is willful and has been known to use manipulative tactics to gain an advantage over his friends, and while I am being completely honest, over his brother and even myself at times.

Does that make him a potential bully? I think he could be.

Does that make him a bad kid. No. I don’t think so.

In the survey mentioned above - many Canadians also admitted they felt they suffered long-term harm as a result of bullying.

  • 69% suffered lack of confidence
  • 53% low self esteem
  • 29% depression
These potential long-term effects were confirmed by a study published in the Journal of JAMA Psychiatry last week. Researchers found that victims of bullying in childhood were 4.3 times more likely to have an anxiety disorder as adults, compared to those with no history of bullying or being bullied.

I think the hardest part is admitting that your child, who you may feel is a reflection of you as a parent, may not always make the choices you would like them to make, despite how much you teach them. I am sure many parents jump into action when they suspect their child may be the victim of bullying but how many are just as active when they suspect their child may be the bully.

If you look at the stats it only makes sense… in some cases the bullied are also sometimes the bullies and vice versa. It is not as clear cut as good or bad and disciplined or undisciplined. It’s a complex problem.

Our research shows that having a mentor to speak to for either the bully or the bullied is a step in the right direction in building self-confidence and improving relationships.

Tell us – have you ever bullied? Been bullied? Share your thoughts and possible solutions.

* Anti-Bullying Day is this Wednesday February 27, 2013. Show your support, wear a pink shirt.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Where have all the heroes gone?

It’s no wonder that the subject of role models has been top of mind lately. First there was the NHL strike, then the Lance Armstrong “confession” about lying, cheating and doping. The list goes on and on.

It seems that every week, a former, positive role model, whom kids could look up to and aspire to emulate is being called out for lying, cheating or you name the type of inappropriate, selfish, unhero-like behavior.

Maybe, we expect too much of our celebrities, politicians and sports icons of today. I mean, it’s not their fault. They are human afterall, and nobody could withstand the scrutiny and constant intrusion into their lives by the media today, right?! Maybe yesterday’s heroes had a similar, seemingly lack of character, but we just weren’t aware of it because the media didn’t report about it.

But is that really the point? The question is: Are there any heroes left today?

From our perspective… the answer is a resounding YES!

We don’t know them all personally – but there are over 35,000, ordinary, hard-working, not perfect but just doing their best, Canadian heroes who manage to be positive role models everyday as Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Maybe the issue is not if there are still heroes today but who “we” as a society choose to value. We would like to see more value placed on those who are really making a difference in the world by helping other people.

If you want to be inspired… check out CNN’s Heroes:

Or better yet - read our testimonials…

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bowling 101

Have you heard? BBBS’s Bowl for Kid’s Sake is in full spin across Canada and we want to make sure that you’re all ready and in tip top shape to bowl your best game!

Here are some tips & tricks to help you bowl like a pro-

1-Choose your ball

When it comes to picking a ball, it can be a little tricky- if it's too light it'll be hard to control, and a heavy ball will lack the momentum it needs to knock the pins down. So, make sure your grip is comfortable and you can release the ball easily so you can get that strike!

2- Bowling Shoes
Most bowling shoes have 'special slides' -Make sure that you slide on the opposite foot to the hand you're bowling with. Sliding helps the momentum of the ball and gives it extra power to really knock those pins down.

3- Tamed Twinkle toes
Keep your steps smooth and small as you go for that all-important swing. Point your swing where you want your ball to go and you're on target for that strike!

4- Feet on the floor
Extend the arm you don't bowl with to help keep your balance. You don't want to fall over at a crucial moment!

5- Paying attention
Try not to get distracted and look straight ahead and keep those pins in your sight. Remember to keep your eyes open!

6- Think you're ready?
We do too! Get out there and have fun!

Don’t forget to celebrate when you get a great score or when you knock those pins down! Here’s a quick video on how to ‘celebrate’ your bowling success!

Share with us your bowling secrets and tips at the bottom.