One thing that has come to the forefront during this time of Covid is a second, quieter epidemic –loneliness. As an introvert, I enjoy being by myself to gain back energy spent interacting with others. But even for me, there are plenty of times when it is not good for me to be alone. I can dwell too much on problems to be solved and too little on the joys of daily life. It’s an easy place to find oneself. Even with our technological advancements in communication, our society is lonelier than ever.
This “loneliness epidemic” seems to be affecting Millennials (defined by Pew Research as persons born between 1981 and 1996) significantly more than other generations, with 22% feeling lonely “all of the time” and 24% feeling lonely “for at least some of each day.” That’s almost half of America’s largest generation feeling lonely every day– 33.1 million people! And it doesn’t end with Millennials. According to Susan Mettes, an associate editor at Christianity Today and author of the book, The Loneliness Epidemic: Why So Many of Us Feel Alone and How Leaders Can Respond, one-third of all U.S. adults report feeling lonely for at least some of each day.
It seems impossible that the more connected we are, the more alienated we feel. It seems impossible, but it’s true. The important question is – what do we do about it? I believe the answer lies in having a true community. Because the remedy for loneliness isn’t just surrounding yourself with people; anyone who’s ever been afraid in a crowd can attest to that. The remedy for loneliness is knowing you belong.
Erik Carter, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University, defined this further through his Ten Dimensions of Belonging. His formula proposes that belonging goes far beyond being included in a group. Rather, individuals must feel needed, invited, welcomed, present, befriended, known, cared for, supported, accepted, and loved in order to develop a true sense of belonging.
As educators and mentors, our staff is passionate about making every student feel a deep sense of belonging, one that will ultimately lead them to a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. We also want you to feel this belonging. It is a beautiful part of the Norfolk Christian experience. United around Jesus, our common object of love, let us strive continually for authentic community where everyone knows they belong. Let us break bread together in our homes. (Act 2:47) Let us bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2), stir one another to good works (Heb 10:24), and devote ourselves to prayer. (Acts 1:14) Let us celebrate the unique gifts God has given each of us for this very purpose. (I Cor 12)
You have a special role in this commUNITY and you belong here. We are thrilled that God placed each of you in the NCS family.