My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest as my dad dropped me off for my very first co-op class.
I was thirteen and slowly learning how to brave the world of strangers. As a tall, skinny, slightly awkward teen, I wasn’t very confident in my social skills. Can you relate? Walking into a classroom full of people I’d never met made my heart race and my palms sweat. I couldn’t wait for the dreaded unknown to become known and a memory of my past.
As I opened the door and walked into the classroom, I was greeted by a sweet, smiling teacher.
She welcomed me in and introduced me to the other kids in my class. The time zoomed by, and before I knew it I was gathering my school supplies and heading out the door.
On my way out, two of the other girls in the class came over. Both of them gave me hugs and said they were looking forward to seeing me next time. Their simple act of kindness made all the difference to me. My fears slowly disappeared as I soaked up their sweet smiles and warm welcome into the group.
I didn’t feel like an outsider; I felt like a friend.
Those two girls are an incredible example for each of us. With the school year starting and new girls flooding the halls, I know from experience that many of them feel uncomfortable, insecure, and downright scared!
My prayer is that each one of you will reach out and show kindness and Christ-like love toward the new girls at your school. I pray you will have the courage to reach out and make the newbies at school feel welcome.
Here are three tips on how to reach out.
1. Have a servant’s heart
Instead of going to school with the mindset of “what’s in it for me?”, ask, “Who can I love on and serve in a Christ-like way?” Ask the Lord to help you have the same attitude that He did during His time on earth. In fact, plaster this verse somewhere you will see it often (locker, binder, laptop case, etc.).
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Who can you serve at your school?
2. Actively look for the loner or newbie.
Sometimes it takes intentionality to find the newbie at school. I encourage you to actively look for the newbie or loner and make an effort to reach out to her. Don’t wait for her to come up to your lunch table or to bump into you in the hallway. Cross the room, start the conversation, invite the girls on the fringe into your inner circle.
3. Strive to be a blessing.
Far too often, I find myself coasting through life without considering how I can be a blessing to those around me. I know I’ve missed many opportunities to bless and encourage people simply because I’m so focused on my plans and my time.
Let’s operate differently this school year. Join me in taking the time to slow down and look for opportunities to bless others. Whether it’s a kind word to the student next to you in class, helping the teacher clean up at the end of the day, or simply thanking the janitor, there are always opportunities to bless those around us.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered (Prov. 11:25).
Why not make a list of ways you can bless others and keep it in your binder or locker? You can check blessings off as you go through this school year.
Think about it…
What are some specific ways you plan to bless the people in your school this year?
What are some ways you can apply those three tips in order to make this year better than last?
How can you improve in the area of reaching out to the newbie at your school?