Just like every August, we’ve done everything we need to do: bought new shoes, gathered new school supplies, and spiffed up the school uniform. However, this year won’t be like the others. This year you go into the land of the unknown: middle school.
It seems like just yesterday I watched you walk into kindergarten. You were carefree and nervous all at once. I was so proud as I watched you make new friends and develop into a beautiful pre-teen. You are ready for this, but I may not be. So for me, as much as you, here are some things to remember as you start your middle school years.
- You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Love yourself always. Love your beautiful brown hair, even as your friends dye theirs blonde. Love the changing texture of your skin, your long legs, and your feet that never seem to stop growing. Nobody else determines your worth and nobody can tell you you’re not beautiful. Remember this.
- Be a good friend. Middle school can be ruthless. This is a time when girls are trying out new roads, and sometimes the path to get there is not nice. Your friends will need you more than ever, and you will need them. Be aware of the people around you, and be a friend to someone who needs one. They’ll repay you when it’s time.
- Be yourself. There’s no need to change now. Keep that quirky, silly, dorky spirit alive. When you are yourself, your friends will understand you and love you for who you are. Keep following your passions in life and be inquisitive enough to seek out new adventures. Whenever you get the urge to conform with the crowd, take a look in your heart and remember that your uniqueness makes you you.
- Be respectful. There will be times that you hate me. And that will be okay – it’s all part of growing up. In times like these, when you feel like the world is against you, when you think that every adult is out to get you, take a deep breath and be respectful. Your teachers, your parents, your coaches – they aren’t the enemy. Be respectful at all times and you will get respect in return.
- Be aware of your surroundings. You are growing up in a different world than I did. Not everyone has good intentions. Trust your instincts, stay away from precarious situations, and never, ever ever be afraid to call me if you are in a place you want to get out of.
- Have fun. You won’t get these years back. With every late night of homework, every friend who seems to betray you, and every pair of pants that doesn’t quite fit right, you’ll want to quit. Don’t. Learn to laugh at yourself, figure out your happy place, and go there. Don’t let go of your silly self. Laughter is contagious – infect everyone.
As hard as it will be to watch you walk into this new chapter of your life, I am confident in you. I can’t wait to see the person you turn into, and I am looking forward to the lessons – both in school and in life – that you will learn. So on your first day of middle school, pull back that beautiful brown hair, laugh that crazy laugh, and above all, be yourself.