When I was a little kid, my mother surprised me by playing the one song she knew on the piano. What really shocked me was that she sang the words while she played. And the words!
Nobody likes me,
Everybody hates me,
Going to the garden to eat worms …
What? Why on earth would anyone write such a song for little kids? But here’s the thing. I have learned over the years that when someone feels alone and disliked, loneliness sets in and it can often lead to actions direr than eating worms. An article in Psychology Today said this:
In children, [loneliness] leads to all kinds of problems. Failure to be socially connected to peers is the real reason behind most school dropouts. It sets in motion a course on which children spin their way to outcast status and develop delinquency and other forms of antisocial behavior.
In adults, loneliness is a major precipitant of depression and alcoholism. And it increasingly appears to be the cause of a range of medical problems, some of which take decades to show up.
Loneliness is such a problem in Britain that the government there has appointed someone to do something about it. This from NBC News:
It sounds like a character from a dystopian novel, but Britain has created a “minister for loneliness” to tackle modern public health problems associated with social isolation.
The government said Wednesday it appointed Tracey Crouch after research showed as many as one in ten people felt lonely “always or often” and that hundreds of thousands of elderly people hadn’t spoken to a friend or relative in the past month.
Crouch, whose official title is Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will devise a national strategy to tackle isolation across all ages, and find ways of measuring alienation in official statistics.
There are lots of articles on how to fight loneliness. The problem is not new. And this week, Pastor Jeff will continue his Lenten sermon series on individual encounters with Jesus we find in scripture. He will be preaching on the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4. What does this story have to do with combating loneliness? Come and find out at 8:30 and 11 at John McMillan Presbyterian Church.