Sometimes you want to go...
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Do these sound lyrics sound familiar, if not then you haven’t heard the classic theme song played in the introduction of “Cheers.” However, if you’re like me you might as well cue the music and let it keep playing in your head for the next few moments. The words in this stanza of the song also strike a deep cord (pun intended) in depths of the heart and in the reality of our lives. We all desire to be a part of a community where we are seen, where we are valued and where we are known. We want other people to know our names and we want to feel welcomed.
As leaders serving in Family Ministry at Westside you have the opportunity every Sunday to welcome your few and their parents in your area of ministry. Most likely you already know the names of your few and I’m sure you get to know the names and welcome new children as well, but how are you doing in knowing your parents’ names? I’m not talking about your own personal parents. I’m talking about the parents, guardians or adults that drop off and pick up YOUR few from small group or your classroom. Can you welcome and call them by their first name as they drop off and pick up their kids? If not, it’s ok don’t’ feel bad. Instead check out these tips to help you make the parents’ of YOUR few feel more welcomed and loved by simply knowing their names!
Here are some quick guiding ideas for you to get to know new names:
Start Simple: Each week focus on one family of YOUR few and get to know their name and then (re)-introduce yourself by your name too. In the next couple of months all parties involved will be on a first name basis.
Share a Quick Story: Parents love hearing about how their kids are doing, especially when the highlights are positive ones! Tell about something that happened that day and get to know their name.
Follow Up: Write a short note (there are postcards in the Making Contact with Kids folders) to the parents of YOUR few that you enjoyed getting to know them and their name. It sounds cheesy I know, but a mailed note goes a long way in building relationships.
Remember a Name: I personally do one of three things to help me remember somebody’s name.
- Name repetition - when getting to know someone’s name repeat their name back to them a few times during the conversation.
- Name association - associate someone’s name with someone you already know personally (i.e. family, friend, neighbor, etc.) or someone famous (i.e. celebrity, artist, author, etc.), but however you associate their name repeat that association the next time you see them.
- Name writing - write the person’s name down on a piece of paper (have a note pad to write names down) or type their name in your phone in your notes app. Either way have a way of visually able to reference the name of the person you just got.