To Belong and to Be Longing

You may have heard from your child that our theme at HDCH this year is ‘Belonging’. Over the last month, we have had a number of short assemblies, long assemblies, grade-specific conversations and class devotions connected to this theme. There have been some really good returns from this focus.

Students have shared what actions create belonging, and what actions break community. We have heard that most students feel belonging more often than not, but we still have room to make it better. We’ve all been challenged to make a choice, each day, about at least one thing we can do to help create belonging at HDCH.

One of the benefits of this focus is that, in my experience, HDCH as a community has had what I would call a sunny climate to start the year. This climate is a feel of connection and community all around the building. Belonging is happening at HDCH. I have loved walking the hallways and sensing the Spirit working in our school through this theme.

This theme has me contemplating how longing connects to belonging. And here’s why: I have understood belonging as the feeling of fitting in with others. It was a feeling for me, when I went into a room, as to whether I fit in with the group. It’s that moment when I do an assessment as to who I am and if I am welcome. If I feel like I belong, I can enter the space and feel relaxed.

But I want us to consider a different perspective. What would it be like for me to enter a room, not looking to belong, but rather longing to connect with the other people in it? What if I flipped the script on the word belong, and instead longed to show God’s care for others as fellow image-bearers? What if I had a posture of longing as I walked into a room as opposed to a posture of defensiveness or self-protection? And then I wondered, what if every student and teacher at HDCH walked into the building with a posture of longing like this?

So, consider what it might be like to be longing. And be encouraged by the example of our God, “longs to be gracious to us” and who is the reason we have the capacity to grow in belonging together.

N

PS – And speaking of connections, our staff looks forward to connecting with you and your kids at this semester’s Student Learning Conferences.

The Importance of Posture

When I was younger, my mom and dad used to regularly tell me to sit up straight. Posture seemed to matter a lot to my parents. Posture is “the position or bearing of the body” or “a conscious mental or outward behavioural attitude.”

While I didn’t understand why posture was a big deal to my parents at the time, because of my their influence, I have tried to stand straight, square my shoulders and present myself with good posture throughout my life. My parents believed that good posture helped me portray a message without speaking.

Over the last few months, our leadership team has been working with a strategic theme of ‘Belonging’ for our school community. We are working on this as a foundation for the whole year, and there will be a number of specific things that we will be doing to weave ‘Belonging’ into the fabric of our community.

At the opening assembly, I talked to the students about our posture. I talked about how our body language communicates how we think and feel. Our posture can include or exclude others and their perspectives very quickly. Our posture tells others how we really feel about them, or how we really feel about what they do and say–even if our words suggest otherwise.

I invited our students to consider their posture when they are confronted with someone who thinks differently than they do. I asked the students to think in particular about hands, about the difference between a fist and an open hand. A fist is closed. It is unwelcoming. It can do damage. But an open hand can be extended to shake another hand, to high five, to receive a blessing. A fist pushes away. An open hand is an invitation.

And so, I want to remind all of us that as we work to make everyone feel like they belong at HDCH, we need to have a posture of openness and blessing. My mom and dad were right: posture matters. We can help others belong without saying a word.

See you around,

N

We’re back at it!

Welcome

Welcome everyone to the 2018/2019 school year.

We open the doors to HDCH and welcome 456 students and over 50 staff into the building. We do so with open arms and huge smiles as we set out to cultivate character through learning for a life of service to God.

What a joy it is to work with the teenagers of our community. What a joy it is to unify towards a mission that calls us to go deeper in and further out. What a joy it is to do this within a context of community, a community that desire’s Christ’s likeness in all that we do. May this school year be to God’s glory and the coming Kingdom.

See you around,

N