Welcome. I think I have had this discussion about feeling welcome over fifty times in the seven years I have known woman blessing Sarah, my co-leader to two Girl Scout troops (only one in which she has a daughter), my co-coach in soccer, my co-teacher at church, and my co-yogi. In these endeavors, we always make it a priority to make the children as well as the parents feel welcome. We send invites to events we are attending outside of our scheduled events which range from VBS to Zumba at the library. We do this because in our conversations with one another we have discussed our experiences with the warm, nurturing feeling of being welcomed with open arms as well as the opposite, the loneliness which inevitably accompanies a feeling of being unwelcome.
We ended up at the church where we attend due to woman blessing Sherri who continued to welcome, invite, engage, and inquire whenever we saw her in the hallways during preschool pick-up. She is one of those people whom you feel as if you have known forever upon meeting her on day one. We finally succumbed to her advances and eventually ended up teaching Wednesday evening Bible studies to preschoolers under her direction. Now that was a warm welcome which created results.
As a child, I changed schools four times in three years as the aftermath of my parents’ divorce. As an eight-year-old, I can tell you how much a difference it made when I felt welcomed by students, teachers, and parents and when I did not. I think of this always when I work with children of all ages as well as adults (who inevitably house an inner child). Perhaps, they, too, once, twice, or several times have felt unwelcome. Wouldn’t it be incredible to be that person who allows him/her to feel welcome for the first time?
This evening I plan to welcome my Daisies and Brownies to the Cookie Rally, and I definitely plan to welcome my two volunteer Cookie Queen Goddesses with open arms. Whom do you plan to welcome today?