Factors in belonging
Factors affecting a sense of belonging need to be explored in order to foster belonging.
These factors, once understood, need to be applied to help each child sense he belongs so he may remain fixed to his own faith and faith community even in the tough but faith forming times of questioning and transition. We would all love children to stay and not leave!
ARTICLE: Series: Helping children belong #00
As subjective as belonging is, there are clear attitudes, values, systems and behaviours of a group or church that can foster belonging regardless of who the recipient is. This is true of adults who come to explore our group or children who are born into it or come along with their families later on. The following list is not in order of importance. In fact it could be argued that for each child they are all equally important in belonging. Each builds on the other and the sense of belonging derived from all of these is more than the sum of the parts.
Belonging involves fostering:
[ul style=”5″] [li]Safety & trust[/li] [li]Connectedness & communication[/li] [li]A positive attitude and partnership of the family/household of the child[/li] [li]Valued participation in a wide range of activities[/li] [li]Help in navigating the environment … boundaries and familiarity[/li] [li]Differences and acceptance of differences[/li] [li]Ownership of vision and future directions[/li] [li]Member rights and responsibilities[/li] [li]A way of dealing with past experiences[/li] [li]Opportunity for challenge and growth in skills, gifts & ministry[/li] [li]Identity in Christ as well as identity in the church[/li] [li]A cultivation of leadership[/li] [/ul] [spacer height=”20″ mobile_hide=”true”] Fostering is a key word here. Making sure things in the environment help and encourage a sense of belonging rather than harm or hinder a sense of belonging will be important. ‘Foster’ is that non-parental, gender neutral term that implies mutual responsibility and partnership between parents and the wider group to ensure the environment is right for healthy growth.
A sense of belonging … sensed … not just felt, not just thought, not just caught as a hunch or inkling … a mixure of all three … any or all of the senses at work. And it is something that is not always able to be put into words by a child.
[blockQuote position=”center”]As cliche as it might be, we can more accurately describe the sense of belonging as ‘the vibe’ of belonging. Nevertheless, there are tangible, real-time attitudes, values and practices to implement in order to grow ‘the vibe’.[/blockQuote]
‘Factors in belonging’ series
Articles in this series will expand on each factor and will explore:[ol style=”13″] [li]What the factor is. [/li] [li]Why it’s a factor and why it is important? [/li] [li]How a church can do something about it. What can be put in place to foster this aspect of fostering belonging. [/li] [li]How will can we know this has made a difference, what will it look like if it works? [/li] [li]Reference to a ‘Quality Improvement Cycle’ [/li] [/ol] [spacer height=”20″ mobile_hide=”true”]
A quality improvement cycle:[ul style=”5″] [li]Create a process of evaluation/review[/li] [li]MAP a Mission Action Plan[/li] [li]Implement the plan[/li] [li]Study/review the outcomes …[/li] [li]Sample review questions include:[/li] [li]• Who’s this working for? Why? Identifying how to keep doing it well. Embed best practice. &/or [/li] [li]• Who is it not working for? Why not? Go back to start of cycle .[/li] [/ul] [spacer height=”20″ mobile_hide=”true”]
What have you seen or heard of or experienced that relates to this?
• What are you or your faith community already doing well to help foster a sense of belonging for the child in your midst.
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• Author: phildup55 • Date: 03/09/2014
• Personal pronouns used as required in this article: he/him
Copyright/FreeShare[phildup55/Phillip Day © midst.com.au This article is FreeShare. Part or all of the text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete, square-bracketed tag.] [spacer height=”20″ mobile_hide=”true”]
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