I feel very fortunate to be able to share a few words from a friend today, but unfortunately she won't let me give her credit. See, she wrote a letter full of loving wisdom to her son, as he's about to start middle school. You know, right at the time when kids are terminally embarrassed by their parents.
So, as they say, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. (Or in this case, the names have been removed altogether to avoid protest of the adolescent.) Having said that, please enjoy the loving wisdom of a fellow Seattle parent as she prepares to send her son off into the dizzying world of middle school.
Tomorrow he starts middle school. Since he is the oldest, this is uncharted territory for all of us. Right now, he's excited about meeting new people, having new experiences, and gaining more independence. I am excited, too. It will be a new adventure and I am looking forward to watching him grow.
I will admit, though, that I am also more than a little scared. I've heard lots of stories about kids making bad choices, giving in to peer pressure, using social media for inappropriateness, and trying to do grown-up things like sexting and drugs far too soon. I'm sure he's aware of these things too.
Part of me wants to think he is too smart and too good to fall into those traps. But then there is the real me, that refuses to be a naive parent who is blind to the truth. So...
We are currently standing at the bottom of a mountain—a mountain called adolescence and puberty and middle school and high school. We are preparing for the climb that will lead us up, up, up! There will be wonderful views and a fantastic sense of accomplishment. On our way there, though, as we struggle to the top, I want you to remember, and I will do all that I can to remember, a few things...
Work hard. Always work hard.
Be brave. You are going to have so many new experiences. Some will be good. Some will not. Be brave.
Be yourself. You are fantastic and remarkable! Be yourself.
Do what you know is right. When others are pressuring you to do something and your gut tells you not to—LISTEN! We have tried our best to teach you what is right and what is wrong. You will know it in your heart.
Get organized. Get organized now. Learn how to manage your time. Don't procrastinate. These are habits that will help you in middle school, in high school, in whatever career you choose, and in life for a long time to come.
Be kind. Adolescence can be tough and awkward and uncomfortable. Remember that everyone is struggling with something. Kindness is everything.
Be confident. You are awesome. Don't ever forget that. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Choose your people wisely. "You are no better than the company you keep." Rise above a bad influence.
Remember that we will always love you. Dad and I are here for you anytime you need us and there is nothing you can say or do that will make us stop loving you. If you have questions, we will find answers. If you are unsure how to handle a situation, we will gladly give you guidance. If your heart is breaking, we will dry your tears. If you have made a mistake, we will help you amend it. If you are about to explode with joy, we will share your happiness. All you have to do is talk to us. We are NEVER too busy for you, and your "problems" are NEVER too small or too big. All you have to do is talk. We will listen. I promise.
Have fun. You are on the edge of learning so much and experiencing so much. It won't all be easy. If fact, some of it will be really hard. But, there will also be so much to enjoy! Smile. Laugh. Make new friends. Soak it in. Enjoy this part of your life. Believe me, it will go by faster than you can believe!