As I sit here thinking about my first year working at a school, I smile. Not because they have pushed me over the edge. Yet. I smile because these kids give me hope.
The school where I serve lunch has seventh through twelfth grades on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and Kindergarten through sixth grades on Tuesday and Thursday. My first impression of the juniors and seniors was that they are adults. Normally I would still think of them as kids since I graduated high school before they were born, but conversations with them are grown up conversations. They ask me how I am and we joke around. All of high school is polite and a joy to be around.
The elementary school is where my heart is at, and these kids have not disappointed me. They melt my heart and make me laugh. They tell me how good the food is and are the sweetest. The things that come out of their mouths….For instance, the day it rained. I asked a few second graders if they had fun at recess even though it was wet. I had one look at me and say, “Miss Sarah, it’s never too wet to have fun!” How can you not laugh at that? There is never a dull moment with them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Ah middle school. I intentionally left them for last. Where do I start? Seventh and eighth grade is going to have drama no matter what school you go to. Before I started working here, I dreaded middle school for my girls. My oldest is a preteen and I get glimpses from time to time. After this year, I don’t dread it as much. These kids are not perfect, but there are many sweet ones. One time a seventh grader said, in a serious voice, that the Atlanta Falcons are going to win the Super Bowl in his lifetime. Sweet boy actually believes that. (Just kidding!) When I see this group, I see kids who want to grow up. They have new thoughts and feelings and hormones that they haven’t figured out what to do with yet. They make mistakes with words or actions, but they are learning.
The children and near adults I am around every day are so well behaved. They say please and thank you. I hear yes ma’am and even no thank you when I offer them vegetables!
I say all of this to tell other parents not to give up. When you feel like you are the only parent who has strict rules, you are not. When you are told your child is the only one in their fourth grade class who doesn’t have an iPhone 6, don’t cave. When you won’t let them watch a TV show that other parents allow, don’t give in. Remember that we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. There is too much at stake in future generations.
One day, our children will have to navigate this scary world based on what we have taught them. If we instill in them godly values and help them to love others, they will be set. If we help them avoid landmines now, they will be more likely to grow into who God wants them to be. We have to do the hard work now and be their friends later.
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Stand strong.
Linking with Holley Gerth