I wanted to share a very special story about belonging. My neighbors are very diverse. What I mean is we are LBTQ, first-generation immigrants, African American mixed racial kids, a disabled man, Jewish and White, from the age of four years old to senior. We all get along and act like family.
I like to give stickers to the kids and the older disabled man. He keeps the stickers I give him. Last summer I asked the four-year-old to go and give the older disabled man a sticker. The 4-year old ran up to him gave him a sticker came back and got another one for himself.
This last summer I came back from a trip and I was showing the disabled man’s mom some pictures from our trip. The disabled man came up to me pointed to my phone to look at the pictures. He had never done that before.
Through the sticker experience, he grew in belonging and acceptance. Even though he doesn’t talk and is different, even though we are all different we all belong.
Reality is when people are different, many times they don’t get to have belonging or acceptance. Our community is amazing. This young 4 year old will grow up to learn that people with disabilities are just like him and it is ok to talk with people with disabilities and be around them.
My question for you is how are you creating belonging in your environment?