National Inclusion Week runs from 25th September to 1st October. It’s all about making an impact by including everyone, particularly in workplaces. I first wrote a version of this blog for my monthly kindness column in my local paper and it seemed appropriate to update it for this week.
One way to be kind is to include other people and involve them in the things that you are doing, particularly when their experiences and situations are different to your own. With loneliness, division and discrimination often getting a mention when we turn on our TV or radio, it seems to me that involving others is a great way for us all to do our bit for a kind world.
Of course, there are already lots of examples of inclusion in action, such as:
- Many Ukrainian families have been welcomed to the UK, with their host families helping them to settle in and become part of the community.
- I attend my local business club networking meeting each month, a group that is all about making connections. Whenever new members join for the first time, we make sure to move around the space and talk to new people as well as the ones we already know.
- If you visit your local playpark, you will often see children who didn’t already know each other joining in to play a game together. This is particularly true for younger children.
Small but powerful
As with all acts of kindness, including someone in your activities doesn’t have to be the big deal we sometimes make it seem in our own heads. Small actions and words are just as powerful in showing another human being that we are connected.
Here are some ideas for including people:
- Smile and catch the eye of a newcomer when they walk through the door of the office.
- Ask a colleague for their opinion on a matter and really listen to what they say. Thank them for sharing their views.
- Share a few kind words with someone if you see them looking nervous or scared – you will show them that you recognise what they are feeling and that they are not alone.
Where to start?
One of my favourite stories that has been sent in to Time for Kindness was about a shop assistant who helped 2 young children buy a Mother’s Day present for their mum. As she was a single mum it was difficult for the kids to buy anything as a surprise for her. By helping them choose a gift while she looked away, the assistant made sure that this family could truly be involved in Mother’s Day, on an equal basis.
If we want to show kindness by including people like the shop assistant did, where is a good place to start? I’d recommend being really deliberate with your thinking.
- Regularly ask yourself who is involved and who might be left out.
- Consider what a situation might be like from someone else’s perspective, rather than your own.
- Choose to welcome them in a way that makes their experience more positive for them.
There are many benefits to involving a wider range of people in an activity or workplace, including people who are different to you. You bring in new perspectives and previous experiences. You learn something new. You make new friends and connections.
Together we can create a more positive, kinder experience for everyone.