We were recently reading our local paper and came across an article about a small group of women who have established an after-school homework club—First Door*—to serve lower income kids in third through sixth grade. First Door provides a place for these kids, who often go home to an empty house with no support for homework and school success, to have a place to go for those transitional hours before a parent gets home and have support in this critical time in their life and development. One of the things that touched us about this organization is the sign that is hanging just inside the classroom door. It says:
You are known
You are loved
As we reflected on these words, we recognized the longing that every human being has—to be known, loved, and to feel like they matter—and we thought about how powerful it would be if employers, community organizations, and families had a similar sign and commitment to mirroring to people this same sentiment.
We know that it is not the norm in the business world to talk about knowing, loving, and mattering, but we also know that the companies, community groups, and families that are most successful are the ones that actually embody these words.
Consider when you have been the happiest in your work life. Our guess is that it was someplace where the people you worked for and with knew a bit about you personally—who and what was important to you in your life. Our guess is that you were shown, in a variety of ways, that you were cared for—that you were more than just a cog in the machine. Our guess is that you felt valued and respected—you knew you genuinely made a difference.
This week, take a few moments to think about the messages you give to the people you work with, work alongside, and live with. Consider the small but powerful ways you can let them know that they are known, they are loved, and they matter.
*The article can be found in The Sunday Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), April 6, 2014, page A2.