Sure we all like the show The Middle. But I like little else involving “The Middle”. How about you?
Middle Age is surprisingly everything everyone older than me said it was. There really are aches and pains when you wake up in the morning. You really do notice that your skin is not what it used to be. I haven’t read, I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, but the title makes me say, Amen Sister!
Middle of The Road or Middle Ground is not something I like to take. Although my job as a college teacher (and being a parent) forces me to accept and examine the “gray” areas of life, I like black and white. Right and wrong. I’m a rule-follower and life just seems easier when I choose one or the other. However, Middle of The Road is occasionally necessary.
The Middle of My Long-Gone Waist Line is flab and this makes me mad! I already don’t eat all the M&M’s and potato chips that I really want to, and I exercise a few times a week, and I STILL have a ridiculously soggy, mom-of-3-kids middle!
The Middle School Years… ahhhhh!! Well, if we’re being Mommy-mushy, there are certainly priceless, beautiful moments between 6th and 8th grade. Lots of really nice days and fun events are now part of our family memories, but often, those years were challenging as I painstakingly sorted through daily questions, tears, and frustrations. Can we just camp on the Middle School years for a minute?
The Middle School Gym Class is where many girls decide that messing up their hair is so not worth actually trying to compete and win a game.
The Middle School Hallway is where walking to your locker feels like you’re being bounced through the center of a pin ball arcade game.
Middle School Staff sometimes forgets that the emotional maturity gap between a first-born 6th grader and a last-born 8th grader is the width of the Grand Canyon. Yet, we crunch them altogether and expect the 6th graders to feel welcome and safe. Some 11 year olds haven’t been raised on Black Ops and Mortal Kombat. If you’ve read my blog awhile, you’ll remember Desensitize My Kids?! This leads me to…
Middle School Assemblies. Sometimes, good intentions are ill-timed or go too far. Kids are ready for outside world information at very different ages. If they didn’t know prior to the assemblies, these events have taught kids where the best drug dealers can be found, how to roll, inject, snort and hide drugs. They introduced alcohol frozen pops and how to hide alcohol in your flip flops. Perhaps this information would be better suited for the parent assemblies in the younger grades. The Rachel’s Challenge assembly was much too early for my kids. My daughter’s eyes blazed at me that afternoon, “How can you EVER send me back to school? Did YOU know that kids get shot at school?!” At 11 years old, the precious lesson from Rachel’s life which was well intended by Middle School administration, was buried by guns and mental images of terrified children. After that, I requested my children not attend any assemblies without a note or call home first regarding its content.
The Middle School Cafeteria is where lunchboxes stop being cool. Thankfully, my 9th grader still carries hers at the high school!
The Middle School Church. Disclaimer: I delicately, respectfully and generally speak only of my small-world experiences! We are in the Northeast and we can’t boast truly Christ-centered churches “on every corner”, as my southern friends have. Getting youth to come on a regular basis to church is challenging. That said, the desire for my kids to experience a thriving youth group led me a few years ago to visit several church kids programs, and similar organized events. What I discovered was between nursery and 5th grade, the spiritual growth opportunities were plentiful. At 13, the kids are sometimes dropped off the edge of a spiritual cliff.
When kids are 0-12, they have little say about whether or not they’re going to church with Mom and Dad. When kids are 13-18, they can make dental surgery preferable to Sunday mornings. Yet, at 0-12, my kids had more VBS, Sunday morning theatre shows, holiday events, and spiritually-driven girls and boys programming in one year than they’ve ever had as middle teens.
When they are little, we smile into those cherub faces saying, “God loves you!” At 15, we shy away from telling them they are accepted and loved, often because their serious faces scare us off! Leaving them alone just makes it easier for them to leave. The book, Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it, claims that approximately 90% of kids leave church in the middle teen years.
Not to mention that the best-intended parents who say church will come before sports when their kids are 5, find it terribly difficult not to break that family rule when the kids are 15 (myself included). When they do get to church, there needs to be connection. Important to note: we can be in the best spiritual environment possible and kids will still make their own choices-I know that. I’m also deeply grateful for the godly people who devote their time to the often thankless job of serving our youth at churches across this nation.
The Middle Teens: Aren’t Always “Cute”. Remember when your little ones did something mischievous or blurted out “no!!” to you? Their cuteness saved them. During the middle teens, their moodiness and complaining is just ugly.
The Middle Teens: Puberty. My son turned into a completely different species. Did you read, Moms of Teen Boys Be Encouraged?
Kids in the Middle of a divorce turn into adults who still identify themselves as such. Thankfully, there are programs, such as Kids in the Middle, Children in the Middle, and Divorce Care, which help children navigate the “two homes” “four parents”, etc., but living it out as a child is tough, no matter how well parents think their kids are taking it. Some interesting information is located in the book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.
The Middle of the Night. Or should I say 2am? Anyone have the occasional insomnia? Just because I know it’s always “live”, QVC keeps me company!
The Middle Finger. ‘Nuff said.
The Middle Class and being Middle Child are up for debate! Have I bummed you out or can you relate? The Middle is not always great, so I keep striving for better. Because I hate ending anything on a downer, some good things about The Middle? Middle America! Malcom in the Middle! (I never saw it, but I hear it’s good). The Middle of an Oreo…:)