Have you ever felt a word, idea or concept was simply ‘in the air’ for you? “Connection” is that word for me this week. I feel like the word “connecting” is whispering to me everywhere. I find it in various readings, I feel it when it is lost or broken, and I observe successful people making honest and warm connections with others. They are wholehearted and kind.

When we design for thriving, we pay attention to the connections we have with others.

Reflecting on Connecting

If we are designing for thriving, how can we notice and nourish the “connections” in our world? Which ones are most essential?

Let’s consider the competency of connecting.

How do we “connect” with the children in our care, classroom, or home? Have you ever felt it was difficult? Do you ever feel insufficiently resourced to reach out or remain open-hearted? Do the actions or reactions of others turn your heart cold or put your guard up?

When do you feel most connected with others? What are the criteria for connection for you?

Honestly, I feel like I have solid, authentic, and safe connections with only 10 or 12 people in my world. While I am connected with hundreds of others, I can’t maintain a rich “connection” with the multitudes, even though my heart is to serve and care for them.

Additionally, I know my connections thrive over time. They are nourished when the clock or calendar is thrown out and long-term commitment is there.

Some people I know, feel deeply connected with others through touch or time. And, what is the role of trust in the process of connection?

Photo by Mara Ket on Unsplash

Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

Connecting with Students at School

A young, university student sat with me this week and asked, “What does it take to be a successful teacher at your school?” Without hesitation, I said, “It is one’s ability to connect.” I told her with candour and conviction, “Practice connecting with strangers, those different from oneself, peers, elders, and children. Take time to be intentional and curious about the people around you; noticing and empathizing.”

If you are a teacher with 28 students in your classroom, how are you creating systems to connect individually with each of those students, a personal connection? Do you have a way to conference or coach students individually each week?  How do you touch into the personal relationship you have with each student through class meetings or greeting rituals?

School leaders, this week, I sat with a task force called “Designing a Thriving Community.” We discussed a signature pedagogy for thriving. We know it includes an ability for students to connect relationally with others. How can we nurture this competency in our school?

Connecting with Children at Home

If you are a parent, what helps your child feel connected with you?

I know a couple whose teenage daughter is really struggling right now. The number one thing they’re doing is spending time with her. They are rubbing her back when she cries, sitting with a math textbook at the dining room table, and driving her to school after passing her a homemade smoothie. Connecting with our children is essential for thriving!

Victoria Prooday, experienced Occupational Therapist, blogs

“Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for child’s brain.”

For all of us, what does it look like to be emotionally available for our children?

As you know, these questions don’t have easy answers and I won’t offer them to you. But, I’m going to close my computer now and sit around our dinner table. We quite possibly will discuss how we connect and how to do it better. I hope you will too!

For the sake of the children,