In 2013, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article called “It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being ‘It’”. It spoke about a group of men who have played the game of tag for 23 years. Why would they do this? Because they saw the joy and benefits in still connecting with one another, even after all these years.

At Covenant, we are focusing as a whole school on social connections. This is the relationships and friendships you have with the people around you and includes anyone who plays an important role in your life. God has made us for connection and relationships. The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbour (Mark 12:30-31). This changes our whole perspective from being self-focused to being outward focused.

Research has demonstrated having solid and dependable relationships with others can improve your overall wellbeing, sense of belonging and help you feel supported, particularly during rough seasons. Psychologists suggest that even three friends or family members that you feel you can really count on are all you need to get the psychological benefits of good social connections.

Being a friend can be difficult sometimes, not knowing how to love. I have always found God's definition of love helpful in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

These are truths our teachers teach through our Knowing God classes, our Home Classes, and our general pastoral care practices. These are truths which help our students know how to love others, how to treat others and how to form strong social connections.

But relationships don’t end at the last bell of school, they continue at home, in the holidays, and as we have seen earlier, well after school. Here are my top 5 tips to share with your child to assist them to foster positive, strong social connections:

Top 5 Tips

  1. Friendships require effort and time.

    Deep friendships require a wealth of time and ups and downs. A great quote I once heard is “quality time is a subset of quantity time”. Encourage your child to spend time with their friends.

  2. Help your child learn how to disagree well.

    Disagreements are inevitable. They’ll happen now and then. But disagree nicely. That means try and stay calm and listen to the other person’s side of things too; be in their shoes. If they must agree to disagree that’s fine too. But do so in a loving way, ready to move on. Holding grudges can ruin connections, bring on anxiety and leave you feeling sad.
  3. Share positive thoughts with their friends.

    Letting the people close to you know how much you appreciate them is a great way to nurture and strengthen your connection. Tell the people close to you how important they are to you, that you appreciate them and congratulate them when they've done something awesome.

  4. Encourage your child to join various groups or clubs that they find joy in.

    This is a great way to get out and about, away from a screen, learn new skills and meet new people that have similar interests. Youth groups and Church is a fantastic place for this.

  5. Teaching positive body language.

    Being able to listen and ask questions shows that you care about what the person is saying and that you are interested in them.

I look forward to seeing the students in our school playing tag well after they have graduated!

Dan Apin
Director of Student Wellbeing

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