Here we are- nearing the end of the middle school road. I can’t believe you are in eighth grade.
Looking at your new student ID picture, my eyes tear up because I can’t for the life of me figure out when things all changed. When you transformed into this young man with wise eyes and peach fuzz on your pimpled face, whose smile makes the girls smitten and whose strut now seems more confident and secure.
In just a year, you’ll be heading off to high school. But I’m not ready for all that just yet. It feels like too much too soon.
So, let’s celebrate where you are right now. You have managed the madness of middle school with wisdom and responsibility. You’ve seen things I’d rather you not have seen and learned things I’d rather you not have learned, but that is how it’s supposed to be.
That is how this growing up thing goes.
Each year presents more opportunities for you to experience great things, but it also brings more opportunities that can easily impact your future. So, as you finish off your time in those middle school halls, I want you to know how proud I am of you. You have pointed your compass in the right direction and seem already to be confident in your path, but just in case, humor your mom and let me be sure your coordinates are solid.
Here are a few things to remember for this year and those ahead.
Make Good Choices
I want to encourage you to continue to do the right thing, the smart thing, the responsible thing- when faced with those choices that may be tempting to try. It will be hard at times to stick to your principles when others attempt to persuade you to do otherwise. It will be difficult to steer clear of friends who are making choices that may be dangerous to your health or daringly illegal.
These years are when the safe boundaries get pushed and your growing independence gets tested. The older you get, the bigger the choices and the tougher the consequences.
Trust Your True North
And I want you to know that I believe in you. I trust you. And I have faith in the amazing man you are growing up to be. So, keep making those wise decisions and stay focused on your goals and hold tight to your values, because you have so much potential. Don’t let people steer your course, don’t allow others to interfere with your plans. Stay true to who you are and what you want, no matter the voices and choices around you. This can be hard, but it’s the most important thing you can learn to do.
Life is full of loud distractions and luring temptations that can hinder your goals, your focus, and even your worth. Now is the time to learn how to manage those powerful influences that can infiltrate your life, your identity, and even your future.
Be Patient With The Journey
I know your plans aren’t completely set and your goals aren’t yet solidified. I know you are still discovering who you are as you get older and there’s a lot of groundwork to be laid. I know some things seem unclear and other things confusing, because there’s so much to learn at your age about life and responsibility, expectations and accountability.
There is so much to figure out and understand, so much to discover and explore. It’s a long and sometimes agonizing road, this growing up business, but you’ve come a long way, dear son. You’ve come so far and grown so much.
It’s Okay To Need A Guide
These years are all about growing up and sometimes it can be a rocky road full of mistakes and changes that might be hard. I’ll never expect you to be perfect, although in my eyes you’re pretty close. But just because you are incredibly awesome doesn’t mean you won’t make some poor choices or fail at times. Everyone does.
So, when hard things happen- and they will, I hope and pray you will let me in. Please don’t do hard things alone. I am here for you, always. And I’m quite good at hard things. I’ve managed through hard things many times through the years. Trust that. Trust me. There is nothing too hard for me. Nothing.
So invite me in and let me be your safe place to land. Remember that I am here to help you, to guide you, to encourage you throughout this year and every year that follows. You don’t have to be strong all the time just because you’re a guy. Guys have feelings and needs and they struggle too. Guys need help and support and love. Don’t ever believe otherwise. It’s a lie.
So, enjoy this last year of middle school! Celebrate all your achievements and embrace all the challenges too. This will be a big year for you. And remember that I will be right here, believing in you, loving you, and celebrating you every step of the way.
This is a contributed post by Christine Carter. She writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. Both sold on Amazon.