We should re-think middle school….


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…..


About therigginslife

I'm a redeemed, sold-out believer in Jesus Christ, a daughter of the King of kings! My life has been abundantly blessed with an amazing, godly man and three precious sons. If I could sing all day long, I would; but not just any songs move me. I love all sorts of music, but I soar when I'm singing about my Savior. Almost as much as I love to sing, I love to write...so here goes nothin'...

5 responses »

  1. GO, ELI!!! Robin, I am so old that we had only elementary school when I was in school—no kindergarten (except for the wealthy parents who could afford to pay for it), grades 1-8 at one school, then high school included grades 9-12. I always wanted curly hair, but God seems to believe that straight is best for me. The glasses didn’t come till 9th grade, but I have always had enough fat to share with any of the “skinny Minnies” around. The chants of “fatty, fatty, two-by-four, can’t get through the bathroom door, had to do it in the floor” are still in my memory. Somehow, by the grace of God, we all got through those days and learned what was really important in life, which is kindness, love, and using our abilities for the most good for God and others. I believe that God wants us to depend on Him, and if we are too “perfect” in our own eyes, He will be put in the background. I’m sure Eli will face some challenges as he approaches a new school year, but you and Steve have taught him well, and he will make you proud. Oh, by the way, I LOVED Mrs. Beasley! 🙂

  2. Robin, you failed to mention that you were Miss Western. I still remember the pageant and how impressed I was with your amazing talent, even at that young age. I always thought you were beautiful. Your smile was enough to brighten anyone’s day. I struggled through those years with buck teeth and glasses added to my very skinny, tall frame. We just need to remind our children that what is important is what’s inside. What’s cool in middle school or high school loses its luster with age. Our oldest grandson is starting middle school at WMS next week. I hope Eli will be around to share some humor and wise advice with him. He has his purple belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. I just hope he doesn’t have to use those skills!

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