22 December, 2013


One of the thing I love about having my boys* involved in sports at school is that they are belong to a team. Belonging is something that is very important to most people. While growing up it's something kids long for. So to be a part of a team as middle and high schooler is a big thing. 

Belonging: CAJ's cross country team.
It is one great thing about cross-country and wrestling at CAJ is that the middle and high schoolers all train together. It is a very inclusive atmosphere and they make friends across grade levels there.

I've loved having my son involved in wrestling. From early on the high schoolers looked after him and included him as one of the guys. To see a high schooler come over and talk to my awkward 12/13 year old was sweet to behold. 

I can see it extending a little to his younger brothers too. As we've supported the team as a family, the younger boys become part of the package. Last week we stuck around at the school gym after the dual while the team put the mats away in the smaller, training gym (via a crane: the smaller gym is on the second floor adjacent to the main gym). Our younger two helped roll the mats and the team gave them a ride on the mats across to the crane. The grins on their faces were priceless!

Students involved in sports (or other "teams" like the cast for a musical) gain so much and a lot of it has to do with belonging to a group. They connect in ways that you don't get with just being in classes with others. This is especially great for boys. Doing things together seems to be the way the male sex relates better, more so for boys who haven't yet developed much in the way of social skills. Sitting around having conversation just isn't their thing. My son has many more relationships that he otherwise would have, just because he's participated in extra curricular sport.

The search for belonging is a common one, not just for kids and teenagers, for adults too. We're always subconsciously searching for other people who agree with us, who have similar thinking about things to whom we can "belong".

It comes to mind at this time of year, a time of year when people generally gather together with others that they "belong to". Family groups, friends etc. It is equally a time when people feel lonely, sometimes because they don't have anyone they "belong" with or because those you might assume they "belong" with have rejected them. Others have had significant people in their lives taken from them by death and so there is loneliness. Others can't physically be present with those they "belong to" like us. Often those of us in these situations make up by spending time with friends.

I was reminded of this theme of the search for belonging by a sermon I heard this morning. One of the points the preacher made was that if we have accepted Christ as our saviour, we belong to His group. All who have done the same are His family and ours too. Like a child that has been adopted. They once didn't belong, but now they do. 

That's the reason for Christmas. Jesus came to earth so that he could make a way for us to belong to God's family. It makes a lot of sense, given the deep longing for belonging that almost every human being seems to have from birth. It's what we were created for: to belong. And it is the ultimate in belonging, we will never not belong, it is forever.

* Yes, I'm speaking about the future, right now only one is involved in extra curricular sports because the school only does this from middle school and onwards.

No comments: