This is our twelfth year homeschooling, and although we have been members of the same homeschool support group for 10 years, this year we joined a smaller co-op. Before we went to our first meeting, I wondered how it would go. I hoped my kiddos would develop new skills this year. I hoped my children would make friends; I hoped I would make friends! In the past few months, we have deeply missed community.
At the first meeting, the director introduced the new families. It was probably already somewhat obvious that we were new because we were wearing paper nametags and many of the returning members had lanyard nametags. It was probably also apparent by our unfamiliarity with the building, where to sit, or the order of things like where to go when we dismissed to small groups. I was thankful for the social distancing rules that regulated families sitting far apart from one another—it meant that my mind didn’t needlessly weigh out if people weren’t sitting near us for any reason other than courtesy.
I am humbled to say that from the moment we arrived, people welcomed us. They were helpful, friendly, and kind. Here are the things that I noticed seasoned moms did to help new people feel welcome.
- Moms introduced themselves to me; they initiated a conversation.
- They did not ask generalized, shallow questions for the sake of making small talk. They asked thoughtful questions.
- When I spoke, they weren’t thinking about something else. They were not on their phones. They were not nodding to me while giving their children the side-eye. They listened.
- They acknowledged my learning curve as a newcomer, and they did not treat my questions like they were a nuisance.
- They introduced me to their friends and included me in group conversations.
- They have followed up with emails to see how we are making our way.
- They have been patient with us as we are learning their group culture—things like how to turn in online assignments or working in online groups with other students.
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:1
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