Another school year is well underway for some of you, and starting this week or in the coming weeks for the rest of us. Does this time of year muster up any emotion(s) in you as it does me?
Do you remember the nervous energy (that’s denial terms for AnXiEtY)?
I think the biggest transition for me personally, was from Elementary School – 6th grade to Jr. High – 7th Grade. Our school district had 10 elementary schools and 2 Jr. Highs, so 5 elementary schools fed into each Jr. High. That’s a lot of people, yo’! And 7th grade… well that was just the worst, I don’t care who ya’ are. That age/grade is just weird. Awkward. Gross.
No matter what clique ya’ did or didn’t belong to or how many friends ya’ did or didn’t have – everyone experiences some level of insecurity/anxiety in new situations. Don’t let the trendy clothes or the nose piercings or the skateboard or the football jersey or the black t-shirt or the tough guy/girl attitude fool you. Underneath we all have a desire to be liked (loved even) and included. In fact, we each have a God-shaped hole in us that longs only He can fill, but that’s another blog.
One smile. A hello. An invitation to sit with.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to brighten someone’s day. That’s all it could take to make someone feel special, included, valuable. That’s all it may take to save someone’s life.
It’s not just at school. Do you realize how much anxiety someone feels when they go to a church for the first time? Do we realize people that regularly go to church often don’t feel loved, welcomed, included? It’s a sad, but true, state of affairs that church can often be just as cliquey, if not worse, than the 7th grade. We gather with our friends, chat it up, laugh, and make social plans all while another is alone – just longing for a hello.
Something’s gotta’ change.
Be the one. Be the one to smile at someone in the hallway. Be the one to sit with someone who is sitting alone. Be the one who welcomes, invites, includes. Be the one with open eyes and a caring heart.
It could change your school. It could change your church. It could change someone’s life.
We may never know the significance of something so simple.