The theme of my post today is community, but firstly I want to highlight that today (13th November) is World Kindness Day, with a strapline of ‘make kindness the norm’. If you want to know more about this, click on the images below.
A School is a community. What brings together a community and ‘makes it work’ though?
A widely researched concept is called a ‘Sense of Community’ – a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together.
The following four components are vital to this definition.
- Membership – the feeling of belonging and emotional security.
- Influence – by which the community influences the individual and the individual influences the community
- Integration and fulfillment of needs – by joining the community you get something in return for your participation.
- Shared emotional connection – shared history or experiences, including common causes and challenges.
People are, of course, members of a number of different communities and they expect, and receive, different things from each.
At OHS, just in the last week, we have had some important shared (virtual) experiences.
On 3rd November we celebrated together the school’s 145th Birthday (and ate cake). Earlier in the week, in an assembly, I read the parable ‘A Vision of Sunflowers’ and one line stuck in my mind ‘… when you lived among them you found out what an infinite variety there is in sunflowers, though to the outside world they may appear very much alike …’ We recognise and value the individuality of each and every member of our school community – and it is important to remember that within a community people are still individuals. Spread over many days, we have recently been interviewing (virtually) prospective students as part of our admissions process. These are always a joy and give insights into the brilliance and individuality of future members of the OHS Community. On 11th November we had a remembrance assembly (on the Unknown Soldier) and shared time together in a two minute silence at the same time as other individuals and communities all around the world.
During these strange and unusual times a feeling of community can be a great strength. I suggest you spend some time to pause and reflect on what community means to you.