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Valentines is a day where most use as an opportunity to express and show their love for someone special in their life.  Which is great.  Nothing wrong with that.  The next day, February 15th is another day to show love in a much different way, but arguably in a more powerful way.  Friday is “No One Eats Alone,” a student-led lunchtime event celebrated at thousands of schools across the country.

The idea behind the day is simple – make sure no student eats alone.  Whether it is grade school or high school, feeling alone and left out can be incredibly painful.  The social divide within a school is often most prominently played out in the cafeteria.  I know with my own kids, the first thing we look into once they get their class schedule every school year is to find out whether any of their friends have the same lunch period.

As humans we are relational creatures.  We may be connected via our phones and social media, but at our core we long to connect face to face. We want to be recognized, we want to feel liked, we want to be noticed, we want to be included … and to not feel these things is hard and sometimes devastating.  Isolation is not healthy.  Yet, our world is said to be experiencing a “loneliness epidemic.”  The cure is human connection.

That is the beauty of this student-led initiative, because it is so simple, yet powerful.  Look for the kid sitting by himself and sit with them. Can you imagine the power of going from unrecognized to noticed?  To go from lonely to connected? To go from feeling worthless to feeling valued? 

And if students can do this, so can we.  All around us, are people who feel disconnected.  Can we make it a point to make sure no one sits alone – whether it is a school cafeteria, your workplace, their home … or wherever?  Heck, imagine if this just wasn’t a one-day-thing?  Imagine the difference if we lived our lives making sure no one sits alone?