Seems like yesterday that my biggest parental worry was having enough diapers packed for a road trip. Now, it’s cyberbullying, PSATs, and career paths. My eldest is only weeks away from officially becoming a middle schooler. Middle school is a time we have all endured, but none of us really understand. I know that on his last day of elementary school I will be a big blubbering ball of emotions, so I have decided to pen this letter to him early.
Don’t be a jerk.
I could really just drop the mic right here because taking the non-jerk path is always a win. But, let me be a little more specific. Middle school is weird and awkward. One second you are “da man,” and the next you have the cheese touch. (Shout out to the quintessential middle school coming of age book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.) This shift in status cannot be explained, but it is definitely felt.
It will hurt.
You will be tempted to pass the cheese touch on to someone else. You will be tempted to deflect your hurt by hurting others. Don’t do it. You won’t really feel better, and you will have hurt someone else, which is the worst hurt of all. There is no “get out of the cheese touch” pass. Maybe it will be making the top score on your reading test, or making the winning touchdown, or wearing a new pair of J’s. Or maybe it doesn’t happen. But, no matter what, I am there for you.
She will break your heart (and you’ll break hers).
As much as it pains me to say it, you have already starting liking the females. It is cute and innocent and simple. Keep it that way. One day, she’ll stop liking you and it will suck. You will wonder what you did wrong, question whether you wore too much cologne (or not enough deodorant), but trust me, it is the fickle nature of being a pre-teen.
It’s like when you used to love rice krispie treats. You would have at least two a day. Then one day, you said you didn’t like them anymore. Nothing happened, the recipe didn’t change, you just stopped liking them. Keebler elves didn’t call our house asking why we left them, they just moved on. Take a page out of the elves playbook – just move on. (See also para. 1) And know when your heart is hurting, I am there for you.
Iron Sharpens Iron
Middle school is a pivotal point in your social development. You will develop life-long friendships, but know that you must choose your friends wisely. My dad always told me that you can have several acquaintances, but only a handful of true friends. A true friend is one that cheers you on, comforts you in difficult times, and calls you out when you are wrong. They make you a better version of you. Just as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
There will be times where you will face a crossroads with your friends. A point where you have to decide whether to follow them, or lead your own path. I won’t always be right next to you to help you decide, but I know you will make the right decision. Your decision may not be popular. In fact, often times the right decision is the most unpopular one. You may lose friends, and you will doubt your choice. But never doubt that I will be there for you.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I will ALWAYS be there for you. I will be your Olivia Pope. (Olivia in Scandal season 1-6; not quite sure I like this new Liv yet.) Anywho, there is nothing, NOTHING that you can do that would make me leave you. I am your ride or die. But, that does not mean I won’t pull your coattail when you lose your mind. So, go and slay dragons, take the road less traveled, dream big, soar to new heights…
and know that I will ALWAYS be there for you.
Your Ride or Die