Does anyone remember how awkward middle school was? Boy I do. Shoot, I was awkward from second grade until graduation.
In elementary school, I looked like Miss Beasley (when I wanted to look like Buffy – thanks for the picture to remind me, Kristi Parker); I had the curly hair, black rimmed classes, chubby cheeks. Yep…all the older ladies at church said they loved me but told me I looked like Miss Beasley. Newsflash…that wasn’t really a compliment.
What 6 year old wants to look like an old woman?
As I got older, I just got more awkward. I still had unruly hair and dark rimmed glasses…and chubby cheeks.
If you’re of the age to remember President Jimmy Carter, you’ll probably remember his daughter Amy. I’m going to risk being judged for the following comment, but it was kind of a joke in those days among the young folks that Amy Carter was “homely” (i.e. ugly). One Sunday at church, I was walking to Sunday school and a gentleman I’d known basically all of my life stopped and said, “You know who you remind me of? Amy Carter! You look just like her!” Talk about a gut punch. I never wanted to kick an old man in the shin so bad in all my life. As funny as that seems to me today, at the time, I wanted to throw-up. That statement hurt.
This is Amy Carter…the picture speaks for itself…
I got through middle school and high school and, even though I was not on anyone’s radar (which was good, I guess; I certainly wasn’t popular, but at least I didn’t get beat up) I came through relatively unscathed. However, there were many days that I’m sure I would have benefited from being home schooled.
The reason that all of this is on my mind is because school starts on Monday for our boys; Caleb is in high school and Eli is middle school. Caleb will be a sophomore and Eli, my baby, starts 7th grade. Unbelievable. I took Eli to the middle school yesterday afternoon to see who his homeroom teacher is and to find out whose “team” he is on (a team = 4 teachers who each teach a different subject and their students rotate from teacher to teacher throughout the day). We located Eli’s classroom and met his math teacher, Ms. Miller. I was taking time to get to know her (because unfortunately it seems that Eli got his math skills from his mother…) while Eli stood silently by, occasionally giving me the “let’s go” nudge.
While I spoke to Ms. Miller, in walks a little guy who, I suppose, will be on Eli’s team. He didn’t say a word, but his t-shirt said it all. It simply read, “YOU SUCK.” Eli looked at me….I looked at Eli….and immediately I knew we were thinking the same thing: “I hate middle school.”
Middle school is a necessary evil and I know that Eli will get through just fine; like I did and his dad did and his two brothers did. And prayerfully, he’ll not be on anyone’s radar. I do have to give him props, though. When push comes to shove, you don’t want to mess with him…
Last year, Eli had a kid in his gym class who made fun of him, even going so far as to “shank” him in the boys locker room (yank down his shorts). Eli was embarrassed, humiliated, but mostly, Eli was TICKED. When he told us about what had happened, of course his dad and brother gave him pointers on how to take the kid down, but Eli waved them off and said, “I CAN HANDLE IT.”
The following day in gym class, the bullying kid was standing behind Eli, calling him names, and poking him. Eli says, “You’d better stop now.” The kid didn’t stop so Eli simply elbowed him in the stomach so hard that the kid doubled over. Judge me again if you need to, but I was proud of Eli. While we don’t teach our boys to fight, we sure do teach them to defend themselves.
Here’s the best part; the next day, ELI goes up to the bullying kid before school started and said, “I want you to know that I forgive you and I just want us to get along.” The kid said, “Yeah, me too.” Now that made me double dog proud. 🙂
As much as school may concern me regarding our boys, I know that I absolutely have a weapon of defense for them. PRAYER. And I arm myself every morning.
School starts Monday…let the fun begin…..