we all want to be included.

Que crying.

Or is it, cue crying?

Either way, “start” the crying scene.

Start the words that can barely make it out due to intense emotion and a few swipes across the nose and mouth from all the “side effects” of intense crying.

“…they…wouldn’t…include…me…”

Pause.

Want to know an honesty moment?  Before I even tended to the needs of the child, I thought, that would make a really great blog post.  Adults AND kids, we all have the same needs.  No one likes to be excluded.

But then I came back to reality and realized there was a seven year old boy in front of me who needed an advocate.  We’re taught and trained to advocate socially the LEAST for students because if we become their mediator all the time, how are they going to grow up and fend for themselves?  In some instances, I agree.  I can’t be advocating for a fifteen year old, but when a seven year old comes to me, really without any ability to reason, and asks me to correct a situation, I comply.

Fast forward to adulthood.

Where did all those advocators go?  Sometimes, I just want to be included and I’d like to be able to go to someone and make them make that happen.  Whether it be the awkward social circle interactions where I don’t really have anything to add to a conversation (or, let’s be honest, I just don’t care sometimes to add to them), or wanting to be apart of something; to have worth; TO BE KNOWN.

Ah, to be known.  We all have this desire; to be known.  In relationship, the least fulfilling thing is when we do not feel like we are known.  Countering that, I would suggest that the most fulfilling feeling is when we ARE known; and continually loved as a result.  When a place is made for us; a resting place; a place where we can relax, unwind, breathe, and be who God has created us to be.

It bugs us when people can’t call our next move (sometimes) and in the same breath, it makes us so happy when we don’t have to voice our need to get it met.  Does that make sense?  Example:

I genuinely LOVE when Matt brings flowers home for me.  Love it.  In fact, even while I know they only cost $3.99 at Trader Joe’s, I still love that a.) he bought me flowers and even more than that b.) I didn’t have to mention it.  Conversely, if I have to mention or walk slowly past the flowers at Trader Joe’s… it… already lost its meaning.  For the record, that doesn’t happen very often.  But for example sake, welcome to the potentially pathetic worries of my life. 🙂

We want to be known.  I can’t tell you how many times during the day, whether I’m just walking through the halls, sitting with a student, or on the playground, that I hear the words, “…won’t play with me!  …they won’t let me be a part of their club! …she said I can’t sit with her!” And really, the list goes on and can be boiled down into that one desire:

To be loved, to be included, to be important, to be seen.  Children don’t have many filters or have acquired many ways to gracefully express their emotions, BUT, they express them.  And what happens?  We, the adult, help them achieve their goal of being included.  Adulthood hits, and instead of voicing our needs, we tend to tear down, to remove ourselves, to create islands unto ourselves – which, in fact, cause even greater voids – and ultimately, our need goes unmet, unseen, and our problem does not get solved.  Granted, with adulthood comes more complexity, but we shouldn’t be as ashamed about our desire to be loved and to be known.

First and foremost, we are known and loved by God.  We were created for community and for people, which explains why it’s a pressing issue for many.  I leave you with this: I don’t have it figured out yet; especially moving into a community where I didn’t know anyone, really.  But I also believe we should not feel bad for wanting all of the above mentioned things.  Perhaps voicing our need and being proactive are the small steps we can take to creating an environment that feels more inclusive rather than the opposite.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened with that little boy… within 5 minutes, he was laughing and playing with his friends.

Maybe we have a lot to learn from these little guys.

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