I spent a lot of time watching my kids do this and that in school. Sing. Run. Hit a ball. Toot a horn. And, they spent a lot of time in the crowd watching me do my 4-H thing.
No matter how many kids were doing the same thing as my kid, my focus was zeroed in on my kid, and they knew it. I was there to watch them.
Once, Jenny and I decided we would both sing in the annual hometown Messiah production. It wasn’t until we walked out on the stage that we realized there was no one in the crowd watching just us. Sure, there were people there, but no one was there JUST to see us. It changed the experience for us.
Humans crave affection. As Brene Brown, author and research professor at the University of Houston wrote, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We become numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”
4-H clubs create that much-needed sense of belonging for young adults. Youth are supported by their fellow club members and caring adults. At 4-H, there’s someone in the crowd who is focused just on you, who is there to watch you, and who is invested in your success.
That support doesn’t end at college. Collegiate 4-H can be that next level of support and encouragement for you. Join us for our next meeting, Wings & Wisdom, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 1101 S. Goodwin Ave. in Urbana. Nothing says “you belong” like Buffalo Wild Wings and good friends.
Today, more than ever, we need to remind each other that we are not alone, that we matter, and that someone cares.