It feels good to belong. To find a group who laughs at your jokes, are interested in the same things you are, treat each other with respect and kindness, and have your back. You feel happy, included, a sense of connection, strength, valued and safe. Being accepted, understood, and treated kindly and with compassion (belonging) feels good. Whether at work, among family and friends, in your community, at your school or on your soccer team, belonging is a human need.
But what happens when you are excluded? Picked on? Bullied? How can we change the impact of that? By now, we are well aware of the Pink Shirt story where two boys from Nova Scotia, Travis Price and David Shepherd watched a boy being ostracized and picked on for dressing in pink. The next day they came to school in pink shirts and with 50 other pink shirts for the school to wear in order to show the boy that he was okay, that there were others in the school who had his back. That was the start of Pink Shirt Day.
There are many examples of these acts of solidarity and kindness. Recently I read an article about a 5 year old who came to kindergarten with her shirt inside out and the other kids began to tease her. In no time at all, a classmate had turned her shirt inside out in support and acceptance of the young girl, and soon all the kids were doing the same.
That is the upside of kindness, compassion, and understanding. We see that in our clubs every day.
Recently I heard about the President’s Choice “Dine Together” Movement which encourages families to spend more time around the dinner table enjoying a meal. This got me thinking. What is it about food that brings people together? Why it is so important to eat together as a family or a group of friends? What can we gain from doing that more often?
In our family, some of our best conversations and memories come from the family dinner table. Eating together is such a natural time for a family or group of friends to come together to check in with one another. Conversations around the table are an opportunity to let others know that you’re interested and present. How was your day? Was there anything that happened today that you’re proud of? Was there anything today that did not go your way? What should we do tonight? All these questions help children and adults with a greater feeling of connection, and stronger relationships.
But, news flash… to get the real value of eating together, we can’t rely on technology. We have to put the phone down and turn the TV off. There is a significant focus on the amount of screen time that kids are exposed to, and we all agree that it’s too much. But, what about us?
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April 2017: Diane discusses raising men in a society with entrenched ideas of masculinity.
March 2017: Diane discusses raising women to be empowered leaders.
Feb 2017: Intentional Kindness is discussed in relation to Pink Shirt Day.
Jan 2017: The new year is discussed.