Tag Archive | middle school

The Power of Friendship

I told my daughter today that I needed to write. She said, “You should write about the power of friendship.”

IMG_0632That’s something she thinks about a lot, being just a couple of months shy of 15. This past year has been dominated by a group of friends she and her 18-year-old brother have that call themselves The Marathoners. It started as a small gathering from the youth group at church that got together weekly to watch movies (thus the name “Marathoners,” from movie marathons, not running marathons.)

It’s funny how just watching movies together can bond people so closely.

The group normally met at the home of a young husband and wife who were volunteer leaders with the group. We knew them fairly well, in fact I mentored the wife, getting together with her each week, so we felt comfortable with all the people involved.

Oh my, how this group loves each other. They formed a chat group and message each other numerous times during the day both to solidify plans and to share funny videos, songs, poetry, prayer, or whatever they desire. Many of them even camped together with a couple of the dads for one’s birthday in order to see a meteor shower.

While keeping tabs on the kinds of things they were sharing with each other, I also cautioned my kids to beware of becoming a clique and to be sure they were including FullSizeRender-3others, especially at youth group meetings where there could be those who felt left out. I told them there would be those who were envious of the kids in the “cool group.” They assured me, “Mom, we’re far from the ‘cool kids.'”

Maybe so, but the closeness and love the Marathoners show for each other would be obvious to those observing.

And then something catastrophic happened.

The young wife, whose secrets I had been aware of for quite some time, went public on Facebook that she and her husband were separating and the leadership of the church had told her that she was not allowed to have contact with any of the youth inside or outside of Wednesday night youth group.

FullSizeRenderTwo problems: #1 That statement wasn’t true

and #2 Without any context whatsoever, that announcement sent the Marathoners into a tailspin.

In a rush of texts and tears and frenzied phone calls, we pulled together the Marathoners and the leadership of the youth the very next day, knowing that we needed them to hear the truth of the matter and have a time to process it all together.

I will forever be grateful for the way the leaders handled that meeting, and for the maturity that my kids showed. As we processed together in the following days, my son showed a huge heart for these friends who meant so much to him. And my daughter, who had been very close to the young wife, cried over this situation more than any other in her life, but found solace in the group who leaned in and loved each other even more.

Just a couple of weeks later, both of my kids were asked to speak to upcoming middle school and high school students at a graduation event at church. My daughter, who hates being in front of people, bravely took the stage to address the rising 5th graders and spoke from her heart about how having the right friends and trusting the leaders of TheCity (the name of the youth group) were so very important for their middle school years. If it FullSizeRender 2weren’t for The Marathoners, she didn’t know how she would have survived struggles she had with long-time friends at school. They meant the world to her.

I can’t say that I have a lot of friends still from high school, and certainly not from junior high. Not only do I live on the other side of the country now, but that was almost 40 years ago. But those friendships I have maintained grew and blossomed in the soil of a solid youth group.

This summer, we’re enjoying having the group over to swim. It gets my 2 introvert cave dwellers out a lot more. I love hearing their laughter, watching their friendship and praying for them.

FullSizeRenderThe power of friendship. It can change everything. It’s what Jesus wants for us. Oneness with Him, and oneness with each other.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47 ESV).

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What Do You Know?

I haven’t been able to write lately, because I’ve been at school every day, breaking in a new batch of 6th graders. Here are my observations from my first week teaching middle schoolers:
1. They are older than 2nd graders
2. They can actually carry on intelligent conversations and ask thoughtful questions
3. I love not having to teach math
4. They are good writers!
5. I can read their handwriting without much trouble
6. I love not having to fill out a homework sheet
7. Now that I have teenagers, middle schoolers aren’t so scary
8. I love not having seat work!
9. I can keep my expectations high and not have to worry about being disappointed
10. I know more than I thought I did

 

Thankful today for:

579. my co-teacher Jenni. She rocks!

580. my school being right across the street

581. my 10 6th graders. They rock too!

582. that my kids are old enough to get themselves up, dressed and fed

Teacher! Teacher!

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The pressure is on. I’ve been handed responsibility for 10 new 6th graders who will start out their middle-school careers under my tutelage. How scary is that? I’ve had exactly two years of teaching experience. In 2nd grade. That’s a far cry from what I’m expected to do with these 11- and 12-year-olds. That God would trust me with my own 3 kids is one thing; that others would trust me with theirs, quite another.

In 2nd grade we studied the Olympics, U.S. sites and symbols, farm animals. I can talk to 2nd graders all day about such stuff. I could attempt to teach them about verbs and adjectives and hope they remember to start their sentences with capital letters and end with some sort of punctuation. Sometimes they did it, sometimes they didn’t. But that was OK; they were only in 2nd grade.

Now, I’ve got to try and talk intelligently about the ancient civilizations in China and the Indus Valley, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Sumer. I don’ t even know where Sumer is! I have to guide them into beautiful wiring with strong verbs and quality adjectives. (Or is it quality verbs and strong adjectives?)

And I have to teach them Latin.

The only Latin I know is carpe diem! And e plurbus unum. Did I spell that right?

Lord help us all. Good thing that’s what He does. I hope He’s not busy elsewhere this year, because I’m going to need a lot of His attention.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV84).

Thankful today for:
564. A good start to my son’s sophomore year
565. After-school swim-team practice instead of 5 in the morning
566. A team with which to work
567. Trace Academy
568. Vista Community Church
569. Photos
570. Our avocado tree
571. My new iPad 🙂
572. The weekend
573. Sunshine
574. Animals
575. Massages
576. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
577. The ability to keep making our mortgage payment
578. Gifts