“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Though I’m quoting from the classic Dicken’s novel, A Tale of Two Cities, I’m actually referring to my personal experience in middle school!
Growing up in Montgomery, my middle school years were filled with Friday night trips to the arcade at Eastdale Mall, watching every 80s Brat Pack movie at least 15 times, and making mix-tapes of all my favorite love songs to accompany my tears after a heartbreak. For reasons I don’t fully understand, details from my middle school years are seared into my memory. Emotions across the board ran high. Fun times and sad times both felt like a 10 on the scale. Middle school was a wild ride that was both amazing and hard in equal parts.
It’s good to remind myself of these truths as we parent our third middle schooler. While times, and certainly the things our kids do for fun, have changed, the emotions and challenges at this age remain constant. As part of this month’s Back to School Issue, Katy Clark shares advice in her article, Middle School Teaches Valuable Life Lessons. Even though it may be hard to watch our children struggle, you’ll be encouraged that they are also growing in important areas like self-acceptance, conflict resolution, and resilience during these years. Unpacking this article with your child over an iced latte from Starbucks might just be the ticket to starting the school year off right.
If your kids are already complaining about ANOTHER school year, Sarah Lyons offers help in Getting Kids Motivated for Back to School. Note to self: I need to work on the first suggestion…Set a Good Example. If I’m giving off negative vibes because I’m not ready for all the school year brings, I can expect that Grace will pick up on that and be less motivated. I’m trying to remind myself that although summer seemed to fly by, the school year often does as well.
Rounding out our focus on “Back to School” is Christina Katz’s article, 5 Benefits of After-School Activities, followed by our listing of local after-school activities throughout the River Region. You’ll find details and registration information on whatever they love to do including dance, sports, horseback riding, martial arts, and much more!
As we send our kids off this month to navigate through not only the school hallways but through old and new friendships, up-and-down emotions, and everything else that goes along with “growing up”, let’s do our best to give them grace, understanding and lots of hugs whenever we can. We could even make them a playlist (modern mix tape) to brighten their school days!