Being connected is one of our most basic human needs. In the days when we were roaming the savanna, we knew that being connected to a tribe was more than just a pleasurable experience. We needed that tribe and those connections for survival. Leaving a tribe, or worse, being kicked out of the tribe would almost certainly mean death.
As a child, the primary need is love and emotional connection. Receiving these we learn we are worthy and lovable. When we grow up without these basic needs being met, we can struggle with physical and psychological issues.
What is it that affords a family the ability to shower their children with the love and connection needed to flourish?
Having sufficient resources will provide parents with the opportunity to be home, present, and available for their kids. But families with limited resources are giving plenty of loving support and connection for their kids, while families with plenty of financial stability are struggling to connect with their children.
So, is there more?
Living in a society that places such a premium on being the best, having the biggest house or driving the fastest car can create disconnection. Working all hours to deliver this type of lifestyle and look good takes away from quality family time. Working hard just to put food on the table or a roof over your head creates the same problem but at the other end of the economic spectrum.
Both are problematic and create disconnected symptoms in children. These symptoms can include joining a gang or hanging out in local parks abusing drugs if you live in a community where this type of behavior is prevalent. Throwing a wild party at a friends house who’s parents are on vacation is the symptom we observe when living in that type of community.
Are issues such as these because of “bad” kids? Or are they instead signs of a disconnected society.
What can be done to remedy this issue?
One of the strengths of the Pure Game program is the theme of connection. Because our trained staff or Field Champions focus on the power of positive reinforcement, encouragement, and the teaching of positive character our program lends itself to creating a sense of belonging. Most sports programs are competitively driven by adults, and this only exasperates the disconnection issue. Pitching kids against each other in an adult driven competition means kids once again are trying to win the approval of adults and are working hard to fit in, there is no connection there.
Pure Game is able to provide kids with a place to belong and experience connection. When we feel connected, appreciated, loved for who we are, and a part of something special we are more likely to engage. This engagement in Pure Game is around the personal growth that brings out the best kids have. Life played at full potential is not just a one-liner we put under our logo, it really is a culture we embrace and live out as an organization.
Creating connections with kids is the single most positive feedback we receive from our partner schools. This simple, yet very effective focus of our staff is changing lives.
How can you start making connections in your family?
Start by noticing and commenting on the behavior you would like to see more of within your child. If they demonstrate a moment of being polite, call it out and thank them for it. If they clean up after themselves, again thank them and notice it. After watching your kid perform, play a sport, or partake in their favorite hobby merely say “I love watching you…”
That’s it, keep it simple, but consistent and you will start to see the positive signs of connection in your family.
We will continue to do what brings us pleasure. Getting noticed and appreciated brings us that pleasure and creates the connection we all desire.