Hello. Hi. Hey. How’s it going? How are you? What’s happening? What’s going on? Hola! OMG HEYYYYY! Whassssup?
There are a million ways to say hello - and here’s a really, really critical reason to do so: because social isolation plays a critical role in suicides and in mass shootings. Schools nationwide and plenty in our area are participating in “Start With Hello” week this week, a nationwide initiative from Sandy Hook Promise focused on the creation of connected communities, because connected communities are safer communities.
The premise is so simple it’s stupid - if you see someone alone, reach out and help, and start with hello. The program offers guidance on how to make connections and helps students practice 15 seconds of awkward in order to make a connection with someone new. That’s it. So.simple.it’s.stupid.
So why don’t we do it? Not just kids, but all of us? Do we assume that everyone has a friend or two and so why bother reaching out? Are we overwhelmed? Burned out? Spread too thin? Recently our pool club did an end of year survey, and one of the comments that came back was that, as a new family, they found it hard to break into the established social circles of the pool. The survey person made a great suggestion: create a welcome committee and pair new member families up with a buddy so they can learn the ropes and have someone to lean on. So.simple.it’s.stupid.