You are about to embark on your middle school journey. While it’s cliche to ask “How did this happen so fast?” with all the tear emojis, it really is the best statement to wrap up how most parents feel starting this new phase. The years are flying.
Though I know in my heart you are ready, I’m also slightly heartsick. Heartsick to leave the elementary school bubble, and heartsick knowing you are going to encounter the things I learned in middle school…and none of it has to do with academics.
With that said, this is such a time of sheer beauty. I want you to refuse the narrative that this is the worst part of life. Because with great change comes great growth. Think like a butterfly — it may start as a gooey mess, but the end result will be spectacular.
Here are a few things I want you to know:
First, I want you to know that being a middle schooler takes courage.
It’s going to take courage to stand up to those who may turn their back on you. Courage to call out friends who choose boys over friendship. Courage to be the smart, kind, rule-following kid you are. Courage to tell teachers and other trusting adults when something isn’t right.
There’s no glory in doing the right thing in middle school. I just hope we’ve taught you enough to know when it makes sense to stand up for yourself, even when your knees shake and your voice cracks.
I want you to know that being a middle schooler takes heart.
You and your friends are going to mess up…A lot. Feelings will get hurt and communication lines will get crossed. What matters most is owning up when you make a mistake, and trying to find it in your heart to grant grace when it’s warranted. Middle school truly is a slice of humble pie. Believe me when I say you may eat it more often than you’d like.
I want you to know being a middle schooler takes guts.
You are walking into a building where you only know a small portion of the humans. Even the most extrovert of extroverts are going to be nervous on the first days. Remember you are all in the same boat. If you aren’t sure where to go or what to do, look for the helpers. You can always spot them because their body language and smile will tell you they are safe. And remember this feeling for when it’s your turn to take those reigns to help younger students.
I want you to know being a middle schooler takes a sense of humor.
There’s a reason why there are so many books and TV shows written about this phase. It’s funny when you look back, but not-so-funny while living through it.
There may be times your body feels so awkward you aren’t sure what to put on it that makes you feel good. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with your style, but listen to your own intuition and always show up as your authentic self. And never forget a bra or deodorant 😉
There will be times kids say something and it’s a joke you don’t get. Feel free to fake laugh if needed, but always know you can ask me a million questions when you don’t understand. I’d rather you just ask and we can Urban Dictionary things together versus learn false information from your peers, especially when it comes to sex.
I want you to know being a middle schooler is a friendship test.
Social status reigns in middle school, often hurting lots of feelings along the way. Do not feel like your world is ending if friendships fade and others rise. It’s all par for the course, and a great way to find your people. With that said, if you don’t find your people right away, don’t fret. There is nothing wrong with being a floater and just being kind to all, either. Friendships will change a lot during the next few years, and that’s OK. Try to get to know as many kids as possible — and do your best to not judge them based on pre-concieved notions or rumors. Every person you meet has the chance to enrich your life or teach you a lesson.
Overall, I hope you know middle school isn’t for the faint of heart. Yet it’s such an amazing opportunity to spread your wings and see what you’re made of. With each small step — from conquering that locker combination to trying a new sport — your confidence will grow. Middle school takes practice. Some kids will get it immediately and for others, it will take time to feel comfortable. Do not get lost in the “should haves” and “have nots.” Every middle schoolers journey will look different.
Please know dad and I will always be here to help you navigate this new world, and on the days it’s extra hard, we’ll be here to catch your tears, give you cuddles, and listen to your worries.
Grow baby, grow. And remember, we can do hard things.
Love you to the moon and back, times infinity.
P.S. Don’t ask me about joining social media anytime soon. It’s going to be a NO for many more years.