Wednesday, March 15, 2023


This past Sunday, Pastor Andrea talked about belonging. She reminisced about being a new girl in third grade and when facing a lunchroom full of strangers, a new friend appeared and invited her to sit with them. She talks about how Jesus wants us to help others feel like they belong.

This reminded me of many times when I faced new situations and I knew no one there. When I first visited St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, I was so thankful when one of the members invited me to sit with her. When I went to my first knitting retreat, I didn’t know any of the other 199 attendees that I soon became friends. When the pandemic hit, we were able to video chat online and get to know each other before the retreat and it was a much easier transition to a new situation. This sense of belonging is important to me and I believe it is to most people.

I belong to Facebook groups and somehow was appointed an administrator to two of these groups: a hiking group and a postcard collector’s group. As an administrator, I can see when new people join the group and I make it a point to post a welcome to them and encourage others to welcome them. I try to encourage them to post items that may interest the whole group.

When I attend the monthly knitting guild, the group welcomes new visitors and members. During this time, we announce that anyone is welcome to join our local knitting group that meets in person once a week. Any time we get a new person joining us, we make sure that person feels welcome.

Many of my students with special needs had trouble feeling like they belonged. They felt more like outsiders than insiders because of their differences. I tried to make my classroom a place of belonging. I wanted my students to feel like we were family and when any of them seemed to be “alone,” I encouraged the others to support that person and be there for them. I encouraged them to sit together or walk together so they could belong to a unit and not feel they faced the world alone. If they were bullied, I encouraged the others to stand up for them as family does.

Whenever we feel alone, we need to remember that we are not the only person to feel that way. If we look around, more than likely, we will find someone else who feels the same way. We need to remember that we are never alone and that we belong.

How do you show students they belong? Please share.

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