Middle School is no joke. The physical, emotional, social, and intellectual changes that occur during this period of time are stressful, even for the most laid-back and grounded tweens. For some people, what happened to them in middle school, haunts them for the rest of their adult lives. Middle school is a very intense time of life. But, does it have to be? How much of what middle schoolers go through is genetic versus how much is related to the societal pressures and expectations that are put on them? How much of a tween’s sudden emergence of attitude is really just a signal that they’re confused or frustrated with the hormonal flucuations, the identity questions, the social anxiety that is lurking in the halllways where they do life?
In my experience with counseling and life-coaching middle schoolers in Austinand the surroundeing areas at my private practice in Cedar Park, the majority of their issues are due to social and peer pressure.
During a time where they’re most vulnerable, the devil strikes and begins to throw mud on the Masterpieces that God created them to be. Instead of them being able to discover their God-given talents, they’re told what to be good at by either administrators or their peers so they can coform and fit-in. Subconsciously they are taught the lie that conformity is harmony. The truth is that harmonity is diversity in sync. Instead of discovering their God-given calling and how to thrive within that calling, they’re discovering how to survive. And, oftentimes, adults just write this time period off as a phase of life not seeing the reality of what is happening: the devil is attacking your child and those battles are real and have real lifelong effects on many people. Do middle school children have the intellectual potential to understand that all those mean things happening to them or around them are wrong? Yes. Can they just “blow them off” and move on? Not likely. Remember, middle school children, even the smart ones, don’t have the life experience that we do as adults. Thus, it’s not as easy for a tween to blow someone’s negativity off as many adults like to think.
As parents, we should be able to walk alongside educators as we discover the unique gifts, talents, and curiosities that come naturally to our children.
I feel so strongly about the above statement, that after a lot of prayer and contemplation, I’ve decided to go ahead an open the Acton Imprimis Salado middle school studio a year earlier than planned and I will personally be guiding this studio. This year, I will combine the 5th and 6th grade students together to build the tribe and then add two grade levels a year until we reach 12th. I am thrilled that I get to be these children’s lead studio guide.
I’ve worked with middle schoolers at my private practice, Understanding Giftedness, LLC, in Cedar Park, Texas, in my Just Be group, and at Gateway Church while doing street ministry. I absolutely love this population. I love all the transitions that they go through, their questions, their bravery, their hearts, and the passion that middle schoolers bring to things they care deeply about.
I love how middle schoolers can strike such a beautiful balance between childhood curiousity and adulthood justice.
Thus, I want them to cherish their middle school years. In my studio, these heroes will work hard. They will face intellectual challenges and really begin the deep work of identity development. They will begin to not only identify but develop their God-given gifts. They will begin to explore callings and begin searching for which calling God wants them to pursue….or maybe even create with Him. They will be sheltered from the negative influeces of peer pressure, but they will not be sheltered from hard work. They will be asked to face and conquer their fears. They will fail, and they will learn to pick themselves back up. Their parents will notice the emergence of lions and lionesses within their children. The children will find a confidence deep within themselves that they have yet to tap into. It will be beyond beautiful to witness and I’m very humbled and grateful that I get to be a witness.
The best way to change the world is to empower and equip the youth.