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.