You went to middle school today.
And even though this is the evening and you’re now home, I’m still processing it.
I have far fewer words of advice as you reach this stage. I’m confident I can do far less to help.
You are growing and able to do so much on your own.
More than just being able to cook and load the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. I’m thrilled you know how to do all that of course (even if you choose NOT to), but it’s the other stuff.
Navigating difficult conversations.
Making new people feel welcome.
Pushing past the really hard parts.
Figuring out which decision to make without me.
I’m still here. And available to encourage, advise, support, cheer, cry, whatever. But I see, even this week, that some of it is going to require your navigation.
Last night, when one of you was really sad and faced with some pressure and a hard decision, I said, I can’t make this decision for you. You’re going to have to make the choice. And if you decide this one thing, then you’re going to need to go have a conversation with an authority figure you respect. I’m here to let you cry and to support your decision, but this one, well it’s for you.
You’re no strangers to me liking to run things. Organizing things. Control things.
So on this first day of sixth grade, I’m working really hard too. I’m releasing some things. Things that I would do differently. Choices I would have made instead. One of you said this week, when we disagreed about which path to take on a middle school option, You can’t make me and I’m not going to do that.
You are right to stand up to me. And, maybe I don’t say it enough, you should trust yourself.
Of course you can’t make all the decisions. You’re growing and learning and you’ll probably do a million stupid things in the next three years. Lord knows I did. It’s hormones. Don’t worry. It can’t be helped, really.
But you, each of you, have good instincts. You know yourself. Trust your instincts. Make the choice that doesn’t feel easy if you know it’s the right one.
If though, I could offer you a piece of advice, make it out of strength not out of fear of failure.
Confidence can be hard to come by, especially in middle school. Everything is changing and insecurity is often the default.
If I push you, it is not because I’m trying to be a tyrant. (Well, most of the time.) I ask you WHY you are making that choice because I want you to learn to ask yourself that question.
Are you worried you’re not good enough? That maybe you’ll embarrass yourself? Are you worried someone won’t like you or you won’t fit in?
Then reevaluate your decision. These are not the reasons to say yes or no to a path.
On the other hand, does it fit you? Does it bring you joy? Are you passionate about it?
If you’re making choices because of these reasons, then you do it, go boldly, and fight me if I’m pushing you away from this. (You might have to remind me I said that.)
And before you make any decision, did you talk to God? Did you take the time to pray about it? Is this choice consistent with what you know God calls us to do?
Each of you is the most precious gift. I watched you walk into this school that I’m so utterly grateful that we have and I just felt proud.
I’m proud of all you have endured. The setbacks. The losses. I know there’s been cancer and COVID and hurricanes and floods in your lower school years. But you are resilient.
God was just showing off when He sent us you three. Really, it was audacious. I am still overwhelmed.
I love you.
Go blow middle school out of the water.
Love always and forever, Mom