On. The. First. Day. Ugh.
Thus, until we got a new one, my daughter was the kindy kid with a different hat.
And I had an uneasy feeling...
Would she get picked on due to her hat?
Would she pick up a nickname that would haunt her for life?
Would her ability to make friends be compromised due to her headwear?
Previously, I'd never been too worried about my kids getting bullied.
But, after her first day of school, I was concerned.
Would I have similar feelings if my kids went to a new church or joint a youth group?
Ideally, of course not. No community of God's people has the scourge of bullying.
But, my experience says otherwise.
I've seen kids, no matter what age group, be incredibly mean during church activities.
So, would I be concerned, having dropped off one of my kids, in the church carpark?
I suspect so.
But, there's one difference maker that might calm my nerves.
The culture of the leaders.
Are they welcoming?
Are they diverse?
Are they actively on the lookout for cliques?
Are they teaching on things like inclusiveness, acceptance and the importance of the induvidualness God has made within each person?
If I'm comfortable that the leaders are well-aware and well-skilled when it comes to bullying, then my mind will rest a little easier.