Spring 2017 SpotlightFrom Peggy
Winter 2017 was a time of challenge and opportunity. While we enjoyed time together, took trips and visited family around the country, we also spent time holding up members who were ill and standing with the families of members who left us. I have watched over the last few weeks and I have seen the connections within the Lifespan Community strengthen. We had standing room only last Thursday at our Lifespan Leprechaun Luncheon, and all the members of our family were engaged in celebrating our community. It was a heart warming sight.
The Winter newsletter talked about our new mission statement—Building Communities That Welcome Us As We Age. In thinking about all the things that happened this quarter, it brought me to thinking about welcoming. One definition of welcoming is “made to feel at home.” I believe that is what Lifespan is about—a community that makes each of us feel at home. But sometimes, when we are having such a good time being together and celebrating our community, we can forget the folks who are sitting just outside that celebration. There is a natural reaction to hold on to what is dearest to us. To relish it, celebrate it and stay close to it. Sometimes we end up doing that at the expense of opening our arms to new people, new experiences, new ideas, and most importantly, new potential family members. And everyone we care about now was a new family member once.
Can any of you remember walking into a room full of people you don’t know and you get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? Obviously I’m not talking to our super extraverts here, but some of us can remember the feeling when we walked into that room. Where will I sit? Who do I know? Who will welcome me? Whether this happened to you last week, last year or when you were in the 3rd grade, you remember how it felt.
For me, the spirit of welcoming at Lifespan is the goal of making sure that no one ever has to feel those feelings when they walk into one of our gatherings. Every time someone comes to Lifespan, either for the first time or after an absence, we want them to feel surrounded by a spirit of welcoming. We have been working hard to bring more people to our Lifespan community and this spirit will be critical to our success.
So this is a challenge to all of us. How can we make Lifespan more welcoming? Do we have a “new member” place card at our table? Do we walk up to new people and introduce ourselves? Let’s put on the spirit of welcoming during our spring session. You never know the wonderful people we might meet and the interesting things we might learn.