Happy Last Day of School!
We’re finally here. After six years of class parties, recess four-square, playgrounds, fast-facts, and planners, you get to say good-bye to Elementary School.
Welcome to Middle School. Welcome to lockers, your own laptop, friends with cell phones, adolescence, crushes, and long nights of homework. Welcome to a weird time in your life. Middle School will be a season like none other.
I hope your Middle School years are fantastic and drama-free. I don’t think that’s the case for most people, though. I think lots of people have bad memories of Middle School. Maybe this is because we feel shame about these years. Leaving elementary school and entering adolesence is a transition from innocent to experienced. Anytime you move from innocent to experienced, shame often comes along for the ride.
During Middle School you will try to become independent. No one is good at independence at first. It’s hard to stand up for yourself when you don’t yet know who you are. Becoming independent is like a road trip with more detours than straight routes. It’s not always fun, but you do learn a lot.
I remember all this from my own Middle School experience. My Middle School years were the worst of my life. I was a late bloomer. Middle School bullies eat late bloomers like they eat Cheetos from the vending machine. They teased me, and I clumsily tried to defend myself. More often than not I was too rude or too naive or too caddy. I didn’t know where to go for help so I lashed out at the wrong people. Bad situation, bad reaction, bad years.
I still feel shame about my Middle School years—shame for getting picked on, shame for not knowing how to stand up for myself, and shame for my misguided attempts at independence.
You’re different than I was, though. You love your tiny private school. You’ve made wonderful friends. You tackle challenges with ease. Will all this help you avoid the angst of Middle School?
Probably not. I don’t think there’s any magic bullet to make Middle School easy.
I will be praying for you every day, though. I will pray you will realize your Middle School troubles will be temporary. In a few years, you’ll know yourself better. You won’t have to take so many detours to understand the road you’re on.
Most importantly, I will pray you can focus on the eternal. This year, you will transition through big changes. You will think you know who you are, but you’ll discover you are wrong. Don’t feel ashamed about that. See yourself the way God sees you. He forgives all those detours.
And even though you’re changing, God’s love doesn’t change. No matter what bumps you hit the next few years, God is right beside you, leading you. He loves you so much.
And so do I.
Have a great last day of school,