Our sweet baby girl just started seventh grade.
Just yesterday, she was an bubbly chatterbox who celebrated carrying a lunch box to first grade.
Now, she is in junior high. Some call it middle school. Whatever its name, it brings terror to the hearts of parents across the country.
Because it is the hardest 2-3 years in school life. These children have maturing bodies and immature brains. They are experiencing a new social structure. Their hormones are awakening. Yet we expect them to act responsible, finish their homework, and find good friends. This volatile combination is freeing, confusing, thrilling, and terrifying all at once.
Here is what I wish she REALLY knew about junior high…
The status symbols that thrust some into popularity limelight are pretty worthless in the real world. Life is not about who has the latest iPhone or coolest apps. After all, they won’t get you a job or help you manage adulthood. The latest styles are soon forgotten…and even laughed at. (Remember the big hair from the 80’s? or Doc Martens from the 90’s?)
The social awkwardness that earns ridicule is probably just masking a tender heart that is trying to figure everything out. The “stuck up” one is probably scared out of her mind. The misfit is probably bored by the trivial chatter and is dying for a real conversation of substance.
In the long run, it’s not popularity that drives you to succeed in life. It is character. You might be one who is fortunate to have both popularity and character. But NEVER sacrifice character for popularity. A quest for popularity will drive you to do what you will regret. On the other hand, a quest for character will drive you to your knees as you seek God with all your heart.
It’s all temporary.
My favorite quote from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” comes at the end when the snotty, but popular, Patti is handing out yearbooks. The observant, introspective social-outlier, Angie Steadman, informs her:
“You know what, Patti? One day middle school will end and become high school and after that it just becomes life. All those things you think are important now won’t be anymore.”
It is so true. You might not see it until you are in your twenties, so please trust us. We have been there. We survived. And we have the benefit of looking back.
“My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
What you learn from them will crown you with grace
And be a chain of honor around your neck.
My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!”
–Proverbs 1:9-10 NLT