Do you remember middle school? Those awkward days when you weren’t sure who you were, how you felt about things or who to consider your friends? Those were rough days and still are rough days for many students.
The thing about middle school is that it’s an awkward time in everyone’s life because it's supposed to be awkward. It's a time we all need to endure. It’s that time of life when you begin to understand your body, your emotions, your friendships, this world you live in... a time when you start to think about all of these things.
My son wrote this poem in 5th grade about this very topic:
By: Micah Miessler
My inside and my outside self
Are as different as can be
My outside self is dirty blond
My eyes are mostly green
My size is just normal
I am something you’ve never seen
My inside self is different
You can see
My inside self is strange
It doesn't really show
I know it likes video games
But the rest I don’t know
Confused is a word that might characterize the emotions of middle school students - confused and searching for answers to things that are way bigger than they are! This confusion can take many forms…it can be emotional, mean, reactive, sweet, quiet, polite and rude… all at the same time.
If you have middle school students in your life, I encourage you to be patient with them. From the words of my son, they feel “as different as can be.” What they need is your patience through their ups and downs -- and your perspective. Not the perspective that tells them that it will be better one day because that never helps in the moment. No, they need you to approach them with the perspective and understanding that they are confused and feeling strange and to meet them with open arms and an open heart. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. When you speak, build them up because you already understand how out of place they feel.
Give some encouragement to a middle school student today……they can all use it!