I brought back this photo because my favorite local squirrel, was welcoming me home after I had been away for a few weeks last year. This squirrel gave me the feeling of being welcomed back to where I live. There have been times in my life when I did not always feel welcomed, so I know what that feels like. Hurtful!
That does not happen to me often these days. I have noticed though that I have had more opportunities to make others feel they are being welcomed. As an English-as-a-Second Language teacher, I had many opportunities to make my student over the years feel welcomed, at least to my classroom. I can do what I can to be welcoming, so I can show people from other countries that they are important here. This is not always the case in the wider world or even in the USA.
Is fear stopping us or me from being welcoming? It makes sense to protect ourselves. We and I can’t be naive, but I can become too vigilant with fear and miss opportunities to meet good people.
Being welcoming to all kinds of people from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, and sexual orientations is something I have endeavored to do. I can still remember not feeling being welcomed. I have had to NOT let FEAR of new people dominate or color my thinking or judging people. Each one of us has a story, and we are all human beings sharing the same space on this beautiful earth.
Check out this TEDx Talk by Jan Gunnarsson about being welcoming:
“Hostmanship: the Art of Making People Feel Welcome”
I know that I need to welcome myself to this planet first every day, and be grateful. That is also a choice for me, just like it is for the bus driver in Mr. Gunnarsson’s TEDx Talk.
Every day I need to check my attitude of gratitude, so I can smile and be kind and as welcoming as I can. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. At times when I need to complain to someone about a problem or challenge, I try to do it with honesty and with some kindness and respect towards the other people (person).