Friday, May 08, 2015

Oh, Adolescence

There are some crazed honeybees just outside the Middle School doors and they lazily buzz about enjoying the nectar on the many blooms on campus.  Their arrival coincides with May 1, when the warm weather dress code begins and students are permitted to wear shorts to school.  These all seems to be signals that the freedom of summer vacation is in sight.  

When Spring’s glories arrive in that here-to-stay way, with warm days and sunlight to spare, Middle Schoolers rather lose their minds.  In a way, Nature’s changes at this time are reflective of what’s going on in the bodies and minds of these 11, 12, 13, and 14 year olds.  Cherry tree blooms explode, peony stalks grow an inch per day, dandelions pop up over night and that’s just how it feels to be 13.  For the children, these changes are both exhilarating and overwhelming, sometimes in the very same moment.

I remind myself of their reality as I wade into the breach each day.  Patience and good humor are my allies.  What these kids need at the intersection of childhood and adolescence is the permission to think big and still be children.  They need boundaries and structure, humor and affection, and the patience of adults who remember how hard it was to be a Middle Schooler.  I’ve the privilege to work with a principal who understands these things.  The kids know that we’ve got their back.  We know that with our support they will do good and maybe great things some day.  Each day, we work toward that promise.

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