Safety and trust.
A child will more easily sense they belong when they sense they are safe.
Providing a place that is a safe environment and where safe relationships and programs are not only encouraged and taught but insisted upon will provide a setting where a child may sense that this is somewhere he is safe.
ARTICLE: Series: Help children belong #01
Safe places help to build trust in the place, the people and the message. As trust is a foundational aspect of faith development, this sense of safety and trust helps a child sense there is a place in the midst of their faith community and household for him. As a sense of ‘my place’ is an important factor in belonging, this idea of safety and trust is a significant factor in building somewhere that could be considered as ‘my place’.
The way a household or faith community works to make a place safe for a child is both an individual and corporate responsibility. On one hand, we train everyone to exercise ‘parent antennae’ when it comes to assessing places, programs and relationships surrounding a child. On the other hand, the role of the organisation is to have process around managing the safety of the places, programs and appointments and training of people surrounding our children.
It’s easy to assess this from a managing safety point of view. Ask. Listen. Look. Sense.
Walk around the building and it’s programs and talk to all the people involved from the viewpoint of a child, a parent, an insurance assessor, a litigation lawyer and, more importantly, a faith nurturer. What would unsettle each of these people? What would assure them? If any of these people have cause for concern then there is work to be done. Such people would ask things like:
[ul style=”5″] [li]How does it make me feel/think?[/li] [li]Is it safe? An adventure? Scary but safe? People look after me in this place![/li] [li]Are your workers screened? (application form; police check; interview; referees checked; managing safety training)[/li] [li]What are we teaching or modelling to our kids?[/li] [li]Do we teach and insist of the discipline of respectful, inclusive, loving behaviour towards one another?[/li] [li]Have we done a safety audit recently[/li] [li]Is managing safety training a regular, compulsory activity?[/li] [li]How do we conduct reviews about all this and how often?[/li] [/ul] [spacer height=”20″ mobile_hide=”true”]
Toolkit for growing great kids also explores this theme in Tool 02 … An engaging environment and Tool 03 A warm welcome. Both are key to building a sense of safety and trust.[blockQuote position=”center”]Assessing safety and trust is important. Children won’t stay long term in places or with people they are uneasy with.[/blockQuote]
Mistakes will happen and hopefully these won’t be catastrophic. When they do, forgiveness and reconciliation (if possible) will need to take priority to restore relationships. Trust will need to be rebuilt. This is the subject of Tookit’s Tool 08 The art of apology
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What have you seen or heard of or experienced that relates to this?
• Is a sense safety and trust growing in our kids? If so, how have you achieved this? Let’s keep doing it! Enhance it! If not, why not? Let’s change something.
• Does this article help you to consider a child’s sense of belonging? What is a practical next step for you in this regard?
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The following related articles may also be of interest.
• Author: phildup55 • Date: 03/09/2014
• Personal pronouns used as required in this article: he/him
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