Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is your chance to let folks know you care about them. Unfortunately, today can also stir different emotions if you feel disconnected. My friend and colleague, Dr. Kelly Jameson is a psychologist, and she explains that, in addition to being a celebration of love and appreciation, “this can be a tough week for loneliness IF we buy into the hype of this love season.” According to Dr. Jameson, our need for belonging is the number one trigger for most human behavior (outside of safety). Her main tip: STAY CONNECTED to real humans regardless of your relationship status.
The Value of Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships are essential to hopeful, happy, and engaged kids. School is sometimes the first place children make social and emotional connections and learn critical skills to help them learn and grow. Research says your student’s positive day-to-day interactions with staff and students cannot be underestimated.
A recent Harvard study explains that “The sense of safety and security afforded by close relationships with teachers provides children with a steady footing to support them through developmental challenges. When children “internalize” their teachers as reliable sources of support, they are more successful at overcoming challenges.” In Wylie ISD, we have adopted an unofficial standard that every student has at least one positive relationship with an adult on their campus. If kids don’t possess this social connection, we have systems that help us identify and support them.
How Would You Rate YOUR Social/Emotional Skills?
Finding and keeping positive relationships begins with being a good friend. Our focus on educating the whole child starts by establishing a baseline of social and emotional skills to find and keep these crucial relationships. How would you rate your student’s personal responsibility (self-awareness), and empathy (social awareness) and self-management? Tough questions, right? How would you rank yourself? Research tells us that our babies are likely mirroring our behavior. Yikes!
Start with Yourself!
If a kid’s social and emotional connections begin with you, let’s make sure YOU are okay! If this season invites sad feelings into your life, be proactive. Dr. Jameson suggests adults schedule a movie night with friends, take a spin class, meet a family member for coffee, or go to a basketball game. I would add that kids’ connections are equally important. Enroll them in sports, a club, scouting, youth groups, fine arts, or ship them to the neighbor kid’s house and play. We all need a tribe!!!! Anything that allows exposure to the world, and access to REAL HUMANS, is going to be helpful. I will always be appreciative of those around me who help me to celebrate the ups and downs. Good luck celebrating Valentine’s Day, the Wylie Way!