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Made for Connection

Made for Connection

06th February 2023

Everyone has things in their life they just couldn’t live without… A morning cuppa. A lunchtime walk. A comfy bed?!

While these things undoubtedly bring us comfort and joy, are they really paramount to our wellbeing? Do they truly help us flourish into the best version of ourselves?

What does the Bible say about the things we really need?

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, run by Place2Be charity. The theme for 2023 is ‘Let’s connect’; all about exploring how we can build more meaningful connections with those around us, and the positive impact this has on our mental health.

Place2Be say: ‘Human beings are intrinsically connected to each other, and human connection is vital for the wellbeing and survival of all individuals. People with positive connections to family, friends and others often experience better mental health than those who are less well connected.’

We totally agree! Taking that one step further, we believe we are made for connection, that we really can’t do without it.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18

In his book A Seal Upon the Heart, Timothy Keller writes; ‘Genesis shows us God created everything ‘good’. But the first thing declared not good is Adam’s being alone. This means we have a God-created need that nothing but human love can satisfy… it is necessary for a thriving human life to have great friendships.’

It makes sense, then, that our need for connection and our positive mental wellbeing would go hand-in-hand. Without good friendships and relationships with those around us, it’s all too easy for loneliness, isolation and negative thoughts to overwhelm us. ‘Connection’ is something we simply can’t live without.

But hang on, what is mental health?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as 'a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’

For those struggling with their mental health, life is often described as feeling ‘empty’, ‘dark’ or ‘heavy’. Like a constant uphill battle which must be walked alone. For children who are feeling these things, poor mental health can impact their physical health, their growth and development, and have a lasting impact on their ability to cope with everyday life.

Taking good care of our mental health is really important then, for us as individuals and together as a community. And connection is key! To nurture growth and see positive change, we must think of others, finding ways to build meaningful connections with those around us.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. - 1 Corinthians 12:14-20

Our modern society often tells us to look out for ourselves first, to put ourselves as number one. But this way of living severs meaningful connections. We are stronger together, we need others. The good news is, this means we all have an important part we can play to build up those around us, to spread love and kindness!

Below are ideas (suitable for kids of all ages!) of how we can connect with others to increase our mental health. Whether you’re a grandparent, coach, parent or children's worker - why not test one out with the children (or adults!) in your life this week?

Read more! Books show us different ways of thinking, helping to build empathy and understanding of the world. Pick up a book this week yourself, or encourage a child to read something they wouldn’t usually. 

Check out positive news! While the news is often full of things going wrong, there are plenty of different news sites online which are filled with positive news from around the world. Find an article which interests you and share it with someone you know!

Cook for someone! Sitting down to eat with others is a simple but very effective way to build connections. Why not find a child-friendly meal and get cooking together?

Listen! One of the most effective ways to connect with others is to listen. Try playing a listening game together to work on listening skills.

Ask questions! Try to find out something new about someone else this week. Do they have a hidden talent you don’t know about? What are their opinions on something? What makes them feel happy?

 

If you or someone you know is struggling and needs support, you can get help here:

Childline

Call 0800 1111
Chat online (set up an account first)
Send an email (set up an account first)

Available: free, 24 hours a day

More info: childline.org.uk


Samaritans

Call 116 123
Send an email (response within 24 hours)

Available: free, 24 hours a day

More info: samaritans.org

Transforming Lives for Good

Transforming Lives for Good

TLG is a Christian children’s charity who is passionate about seeing struggling children find hope in the face of adversity. TLG offers a practical approach to build strong connections between local churches, families and schools.

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