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The Welcome

The drive home had been a long one, cross country over the mountains, across the plains, days in length. As the grandma pulled into the driveway she could see some of her kids were there, at her home. Oh boy, that meant grandson as well! How would this young one respond after the long absence? She called his name. His delight showed as he ran through the open garden gate and jumped up into her arms. Ah, the delight of reunion! Of course, play time followed right away. “Grandma, play with me” was immediately responded to with time on the swings.

To be welcomed by another brings joy. Humans thrive on healthy relationships. We are made to be in healthy relationships with one another. At the level of parent and child, a child experiences distress and anxiety if not responded to by the parent. The child needs the welcome of the parents to flourish as a developing person. A parent’s welcome frees the child to explore the world around them and learn new things.

Adults, like children, need a welcome to maintain good mental health. While as adults we may have developed ways to deal with stress when rejected by others, to be ignored is still painful. So, how to welcome one another in daily life?

Recently, as I travelled, I happened into a “Subway” lunch place in the American Midwest. As I walked through the door of the “Subway”, a cheery voice yelled out ‘hello’ from behind the counter. I was so surprised I immediately gravitated towards the voice. We established eye contact and I reciprocated the broad smile I was given. It didn’t take long for conversation to begin and a business transaction to occur. So, the key ingredients were a friendly voice, eye contact and smile.

A genuine welcome is important for all ages: child, teen or adult. The welcome can flow into many aspects of daily life. Whether we are in a business situation, or welcoming someone home from a long day at work or school, a real welcome helps to ease the stress of daily change in our lives.