Well guys, we made it! After adjusting to buses that come a full forty minutes earlier than elementary buses, after navigating multiple classes throughout the day and week, after adjusting to the rigors of middle school, Bug has completed his first year of middle school. I’m so proud of him. It’s been a year and I’ve seen him grow and branch out in it. He’s wiser than before, a bit taller, a little more comfortable in his skin, but still learning about who he is and what his decisions mean for his future. The 2017-18 school year has taught us a lot about ourselves, but it’s the nuggets below that speak
1. Prayer is ALWAYS in order. In 2018, there were 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That was about one shooting a week. The number included grades K through college level. I remember when Columbine occurred in 1999, my freshman year of college. I remember watching the footage with my peers thinking “Wow, how crazy that occurred at a school”. Now, it seems to be a regular occurrence. Just about every morning of this school year, Bug and I have prayed together before he leaves for school. We pray for his protection and the protection of his classmates, teachers, administrators, and staff. We pray that something he does be a blessing to someone else. We pray that someone may come to know Christ and the love of Christ through something Bug says or does. We pray for those being bullied, who are depressed or confused. We pray for the world at large. I used to pray for Bug on my own, but this year we have been purposeful about bowing our heads and praying together. Obviously, more than prayer will be required for what is ailing our world, but I still believe that the righteous fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much. It is always a comfort to know that our son is covered.
2. We need to work on our organization skills. One of the many things I remember about my first year of middle school was the adjustment to multiple classes and assignments. I also remember getting used to an influx of people from vastly different experiences than my own. I came from a school where everyone knew each other and were pretty much the same traditional value structure. When I came to middle school, that wasn’t the case for a lot of the students. That’s the same thing Bug experienced. When Bug began middle school this year, he immediately had adjustment misfires with multiple assignments and classes, as well as the distraction of new friends with new interests and experiences. It was an experience. We have both learned that in order to be successful much easier in the upcoming school year, we’ll have to do a better job of organizing. We’ll make sure that beyond the notebooks his teachers are already calling for next year, we will make sure that every notebook has several dividers for notes, classwork, homework, and papers that his parents need to see. Labels and things in their place will be a necessity. And clutter free will be the way to be.
3. Self-Advocacy. Boy this year was interesting in terms of Bug learning to speak up for himself and not allowing things to just occur simply not to ruffle feathers. There were a couple of episodes where teachers thought his asking questions was disrespectful instead of his exercising his curiosity as we have always encouraged. There were episodes of intimidation and bullying. The mama bear in me wanted to go in and wreck shop. The adult in me had to step back and teach my son how to advocate for himself, how to document events and requests for assistance. How to effectively communicate with his teachers that there was a problem. In several of the cases, the situation was resolved because he was a great advocate. Others, his own fears got the better of him and I stepped in to assist without hovering. In the end, there was a better communication with most of the situations and a clear process order that I discovered. I am now prepared to make sure that I am doing everything I can to help Bug do what he needs to do to succeed on his own.
4. Let no one else write your story. Oh, this one was a good one. Bug wanted to try out for a certain organization before the beginning of the school year. He was super excited about it and talked about it nonstop for weeks. A couple of days before tryouts he began singing a different tune. I asked why and he suggested he’d just realized that he wasn’t cut out for the activity. After further prodding, I discovered that Bug had overheard someone discussing him in a negative light regarding his chances of a positive tryout. He let that get in his head, believed it, and didn’t try out for something that he could have potentially been great at. I shared with him the story of how a fifth grade teacher had told me I would never amount to anything, how I should have given up because I wasn’t smart enough to move forward (isn’t that an awful thing for a teacher to say to a student by the way). I almost believed that teacher until another one told me that I should never let someone else write my story. The only author and finisher of my story besides Jesus is me and even then I digress to Him. If God didn’t say I couldn’t accomplish it, that meant I could. I reminded Bug of that and he has decided next school year he will try out for the activity. I will keep you posted.
5. Never be afraid to try. This year Bug has been begging me to let him get in the kitchen on a regular basis. I’ve bought him in there with me a few times and found out he has a real gift for the kitchen. It shouldn’t surprise me at all as his father is a phenomenal cook. I allowed Bug to get in the kitchen for breakfast and he does a great job. Omelets seem to be his specialty.
6. He is growing up. This year has given Bug so many opportunities to branch out and experience more of the world he lives in. He is drawing his own conclusions and has developed clear and articulate responses to everything from current events, to government policy changes, to historical significance of events, to his relationship with Christ. My Bug isn’t so little bug any more. He’s a well mannered and respectful tween. I am so amazingly proud of him.