Belonging is at the heart of human relationships—it is essential to what we are doing here, building a community that sustains life on earth.
You might say it is the soul of the human race: “It is not good to be alone.”
Or you could listen to how Brene Brown says it: “Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
Belonging begins for every child in those relationships where their physical needs are met, usually their parents. That sense of belonging within family is primal and when it is given sparingly or on conditions that are hard to achieve, it produces pain rather than the delight we are made for.
Connection and trust in childhood begins with food and basic care, but it is developed and becomes endlessly richer by the sharing of language.
Family jokes, sayings, and familiar prayers all create a culture that says “we are us.” Or as Ellen Pompeo says it as Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy, “You are my person.” We belong to each other.
Sometimes we move our families out of their familiar “nest” of neighbourhood, home, routines, friendships, and relatives—and take them across the world for any one of many possible reasons.
At this time our kids need more than ever to know that they still belong: that this set of family connections will never be broken. This becomes their stability in the crazy whirl of leave-taking, travel, and re-settling. A maze of broken connections requires the central anchor of family to remain more reliable than ever before.