Well, I'm about to be a Middle School Parent. We went to the Parents' Information Night this week, to dip our toes into the unknown waters of this next life stage. Buckle up, warriors. It's almost game time.
Peter and I parked the car and followed the general flow of traffic into a building we've never been in. The irony was not lost on me as I realized we're all just adult versions of our adolescents: following the crowd, picking up cues, trying to look casual and inconspicuous in unknown territory.
I have to tell you: I was impressed. Impressed with the principal, the staff I met, the layout of the school, and the student leaders who were there to answer all our questions. (I have quiet hopes that Tucker will be one of these leaders in a short amount of time.)
The principal blew me away. He was funny, down to earth, and very real. He gets middle schoolers.
They finished the night with a panel interview with a handful of eighth graders. With old-school Oprah-style open-mic, the parents asked them questions like,
"What do you love most about your school?"
"What advice do you have for incoming middle schoolers?"
"Do you each have a phone? What are the policies here, and how does your personal device affect your school day?"
"How do you personally deal with cliques and bullying?"
To answer that last question, an eighth grade girl took the microphone and said,
"Well, I've just decided not to let that be a problem for me. I'm the kind of person who will just enter a group of people, and if my presence shifts their dynamics, I'm okay with that. I kind of show up and say, 'Hi. I'm here. You'll learn to love me.'"
And that was my favorite moment of the night.
Middle-School-Cafeteria Confidence. That's a level all its own.
Kudos to the parents who raised a girl who knows there's a seat for her at the table. That was no small feat.