November 11, 2016
As I mentioned in last week’s reflection, I’d like to continue with the second of the three major components of creating authentic loyalty within a community. After trust, the second of the pieces is belonging. The feeling of belonging is essential to any relationship, particularly complicated dynamic relationships such as those found in an environment like ours with people of varied interests and backgrounds.
According to Mr. James Kane, there are five conditions required in order for members of the community to feel as if they belong: 1.) recognition, 2.) insight, 3.) proactivity, 4.) inclusion, and 5.) identity.
We must work hard to ensure that those whose accomplishments are deserving are recognized for their work, whether because of a contribution internally to the community or externally to the larger society. Recognizing the contributions of others, no matter how big or small, leads to a community in which all feel valued.
Insight, the ability to possess a deep understanding of a person or situation, creates an environment of empathy in a community, in which all members recognize that each is contributing his own gifts in his own way and that, although we are inherently flawed as humans and occasionally make mistakes, we all desire, at the heart of it, the same thing—in our case, the education and salvation of our young people. Although we may sometimes disagree on the best course of action to take in order to do this, insight allows us to have perspective and a strong, clear vision of the bigger picture.
Proactivity is akin to “grabbing the bull by the horns.” Being a step or two ahead allows the community to thrive in a manner in which it cannot if it is constantly diverting its resources toward mending or patching. Certainly, we cannot anticipate everything. However, with proper insight, we can create an environment in which ideas and creativity flourish; in which people are valued for their progressive, forward-thinking, and broad-based approach; and in which leaders and community members alike value the vision and the end game as the ultimate prize.
In an inclusive community, all are invited and all are welcomed. The Lasallian school is a united community where diversity is respected, where no one is left out, and where everyone finds a place. We recognize and accept one another's strengths and limitations. In fact, it is in harnessing these differences that we create an environment that allows all to reach their full potential as members of the community and as members of God’s Kingdom. Each of us is valued for the unique, God-given gifts we have been given, and we are encouraged to embrace an active spirituality in which we share those gifts with others.
Lastly, our identity, expresses externally the values we uphold internally. Our identity encompasses and informs who we are—the decisions we make, the policies we create, the events we hold, and the manner in which we interact with one another. We need our common identity as members of the Christian Brothers School community to direct all facets of our work.
Because a sense of belonging is the life-giving source of the community, it’s important that we all work together, in whatever setting we may find ourselves, to create an atmosphere of respect that fosters that sense of belonging.
Have a great weekend!