Monday, 30 April 2018

Reminders of Connectedness

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

We know from the research that ‘connectedness’ and a sense of ‘belonging’ are very powerful keys to wellbeing for both adults and children.

In our schools, we know how painful it can be for our students who deal with social exclusion. As teachers and Chaplains, we are often asked to support families where students are dealing with social rejection.

The Greater Good Science Centre has many articles and ideas to help us navigate these difficult social situations. Here is one of their great ideas, copied directly from their website.  
It is called, Reminders of Connectedness.

Take 10 minutes to complete the first three steps; after that, the amount of time it will take to complete the rest will vary. Try to go through this exercise at least once per month. After evaluating your classroom, office, or a room in your home, next month consider another room or environment over which you have control.

1. Take a moment to look around your home, office, or classroom. What kinds of objects, words, and images surround you?
2. Count how many of these objects, words, and images are related to social connectedness. This could include pictures of people interacting, words like “community,” “together,” or “friendship,” or even two stuffed animals facing one another on a shelf.
3. Notice whether there are any empty walls or shelves where you could add new objects related to connectedness, or places where you could replace existing objects.
4. Next time you’re out shopping, looking through your belongings, or (for parents or teachers) developing an art project for your children or students, see if you can find objects that evoke connection, even in a subtle way, and use them to fill these empty places or to replace existing objects.
5. Finally, consider how the furniture in this room is arranged. Are chairs facing toward or away from each other? Are there common spaces that are conducive to social interaction? Rearranging the layout of your home, office, or classroom can also help to promote feelings of connectedness.

So who should try this? 

"Research suggests that humans have a strong propensity for kindness and generosity, and that kindness improves the health and happiness of the giver, not only of the receiver. But we don't always act on our altruistic instincts.

Fortunately, studies have identified ways to elicit people’s deeply rooted propensities for kindness. One of the most effective is to evoke a sense of connectedness among people. Research suggests that even subtle reminders of connection, operating below the conscious level, can lead to concrete, measurable increases in altruistic behaviour. This exercise walks you through the process of considering how you can add reminders of social connection to your home, office, or classroom." 

There are so many Bible stories about ‘connectedness’.  Why not explore the story of Jesus choosing his disciples? This can then be developed in to lessons about friendship, compassion, support and caring. Enjoy connecting with your students and your school community.

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