Connection. While some may deny it, It’s one of the things we crave most as human beings.
I don’t really care for being alone. It’s too quiet. I get bored fairly easily. And I love people.
Back in the day, though, loners were considered too cool for everyone else. It was a mark of honor. Of anti-establishment. Of independence.
Now, it’s easy to be a loner. It’s easy to play video games online with people you’ve never met instead of board games with family and friends.
We can Tweet out political discourse and if we don’t like the responses, we just block ’em. We don’t talk. We don’t get together. And let’s face it, it’s really easy to post something in the moment when there is no immediate response.
In my school, we have kiddos who struggle with connection for a variety of reasons. Yesterday as I was making my rounds, I started to notice something.
In the library, while students were waiting to be let into their classrooms, the teaching assistants who monitor the area sat at tables talking to students. Only they weren’t just talking. They were building relationships. They didn’t have to do that. They could have talked amongst themselves, drinking coffee and surfing the net. But that’s not what they did. They made the effort to connect.
In the lunchroom, teachers, custodians and other adults actually sat at the lunch table with students. Not because lunch was fabulous that day. Nope. It was because they were building relationships. Building connections.
Relationships are the reason my kids come to school. Learning? Yes. Lunch and breakfast? Yes. But it’s the people who keep them coming back. It’s the safety of a place where they know they are loved and not judged.
Y’all, I’m tired. I rarely watch the news but it’s been hard to hide my head in the sand with all of the violence, hatred, and vitriol that have been spewed this week.
There are no easy answers to curtailing what is going on in this country. I know that, alone, I cannot make a wholesale difference in a lot of areas. It took us a while to get where we are and it will take a while to get where we need to be as a society.
But I can make a difference in my community by connecting with others. Taking a few minutes to talk to a colleague or a neighbor. Smiling at someone in the grocery store. Saying hello when you just feel like getting home. Taking a minute to speak to that person who may be a little awkward but may just be lonely.
Maybe if we all start with a little compassion in our communities, it can help heal what’s broken. Maybe today is the day to put the screen down (now that you’ve read this post), get out there, and connect. That’s my plan for the day, anyway.