Anticipation was in the air. The big chapel buddy reveal was finally here!! No longer would I have to hide at break, carline, and yes, even church, from the ever-present question…” Who is my chapel buddy?” or, “Please tell me! I can’t wait another second.”
When was the last time we looked forward to something like that? Why is this such a big deal?
There are few things more powerful than a sense of belonging. As kids ran around the playground searching for their special person, it occurred to me how vital community is and how much we have missed this level of connection during the past season.
I held back tears as I watched the older students with genuine smiles enjoying this first experience in their role as mentors.
They listened to their younger chapel buddies tell stories, and they played basketball, tetherball, or simply ran around together. The joy level of the campus rose with the sounds of happiness in the air.
This event brought to mind a beautiful characteristic of our community: a sense of belonging and how this the simple definition from Wikipedia seems to put words to it:
Belongingness is the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, a religion, or something else, people tend to have an ‘inherent’ desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves.
I saw this played out so beautifully 11 years ago when my daughter Abby was just starting at Ambleside. She was incredibly shy and cried every morning when I dropped her off. It was heartbreaking as a mom and someone suggested that her chapel buddy meet her at the gate. So every morning, Sara Johnson would wait at the gate for her arrival and greet her with a big smile and hug. All of the sudden, she couldn’t wait to get out of the car because her person, this precious seventh-grader, was waiting for her. She felt seen and heard and it changed everything.
It is such a gift to be me, here with your children, able to observe the many ways they bring joy, and life, and belonging to each other.