Greenland, or Kalaalisut, (Kalaallit Nunaat), meaning "Land of the Greenlanders" is the world’s largest island that is not a continent. Icebergs and dramatic glaciers allow fantastic winter sports year-round. This spectacular, pristine land mass houses whales, seals, walruses, musk oxen and polar bears. With only 55,000 inhabitants, Greenland offers space and a challenge for hikers, anglers, kayakers, mountain climbers and mountain bikers. This absolutely amazing Arctic jewel is hardly visited and enjoyed. In fact, it’s even difficult to Google Greenland.
Many people are spectacular, yet unnoticed and under-appreciated. In an age of worldwide communication networks and Internet search engines, is it amazing how many people feel nameless in a crowd. Researchers in a huge longitudinal study of 90,000 American adolescents have identified this nameless feeling, this lack of connectedness, as the primary factor associated with risky behavior during adolescence. Kids who feel connected to family, school, church and community are engaged in far fewer destructive behaviors that place their long and short-term health at risk than those who do not.
Relational health is like a trampoline in good repair—it provides a lot of “bounce” and resiliency to one’s life. Researchers have concluded that in order to experience optimal health and well-being, humans need a network of some 20-30 people in this circle of close relationships. This all-important support system can be family, friends, colleagues or even your hairdresser if a special chemistry between you has led to friendship. What counts is that you are in nearly daily contact with these people, your relationship is for the most part positive and you know you could depend on them in an emergency, just as they could depend upon you. You can repair the springs and reinforce the mat until your trampoline is as good as new. You can develop the relationships you already have and new ones that look promising.
The good news is you can take charge of your life and build bridges to others. Isaiah wrote these words in Isaiah 43:1: “The Lord who created you says, ‘I have called you by name-you are Mine.”’ Don’t let another precious, beautiful person remain an island-isolated, unnoticed and unloved. Build your trampolines. Your life and those in your sphere of influence will never be the same.
Jumpstart Connections by Karen Holford and Ron Flowers, pp. 9-11.
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