First day of Jr HighTo My Son on His First Day of Junior High,

I’ve dropped you in the depths of fire … no, not really. That’s how it seems to me. In reality, I’ve dropped you in the den of all things cool. No more walking you inside, or pictures of you sitting at your desk on the first day. Amazingly, I did fine with it all, but there are some things that I want you to remember today and for the next three years.

Your school is huge and over-crowded. Every personality and race and religion is represented. Every kid there is unique – yourself included. Guess what? That’s great. You are at such an advantage. I didn’t see this kind of diversity until college. Treat it as a gift and get to know people from all walks of life. Lots of things are expected, yet some things are taboo in different cultures. Learn from your friends and be respectful of those cultural differences when you are with them. It will be appreciated!

You are awesome. Some will love you and some will probably not. That’s ok, too. Stay true to yourself. Don’t change to fit in. Find friends that will embrace you for who you are. Those friends are the ones that will be your TRUE friends. Hang tight onto them!

Speaking of friends, grab as many as you can. But, realize that only a few will probably become close. Guard yourself against those that talk bad about others. Chances are good that they’ll talk bad about you too. Be nice, but make a mental note. Never, ever get caught up and speak negative of anyone. You don’t want that to happen to you, so honor that rule for others.

Try new things. Clubs, social activities, whatever you want. Try it and see how you like it. You might surprise yourself.

Jr high lockerNever give up something you love just to fit in. You love soccer. I’m thinking you’ll love band. If those things suddenly turn “uncool,” stay the course. It doesn’t matter what others think. I know that’s hard to swallow right now, but trust me – if you love it, stay all in. Few people find something that they are truly passionate about. Don’t sell yourself short to be cool in the eyes of another teen. You’ll have lots of regret.

Don’t ever be ashamed of being smart. Not all of us got the academic gene, but you did. You have an amazing gift and so much potential. Use every ounce of what you have. But, know that if you truly do your best and fall short, that’s ok too. Dust yourself off and get back up.

Relationships will begin to form all around you. Couples, and boyfriend/girlfriends, and romance everywhere. Go with the flow. You’ve had such awesome “girl (space) friends” throughout school … those relationships are valuable. When you are friends with someone first, you learn so much more about them. You’ve got the rest of your life to be in a relationship. I’m thankful that you have no interest now.

Ask questions! Teachers can’t help you if you are too embarrassed to ask. You are lucky to live in the digital age. If you can’t bring yourself to raise your hand, drop them an email. But, ASK! Your schedule is demanding and full. Don’t let your shy spirit get in the way.

More than anything else, remember that I love you. You have a pure and honest soul. But, you are going to screw up and make mistakes and disappoint yourself. In the next moment, you will have huge gains and highlights and triumphs. All of this is just a part of being in junior high. I will love you through all of your highs and lows. Regardless. I promise.

I’m so excited for you. 

I love you!