My youngest son had to register for junior high this week. The nerves he displayed while touring the school and deciding which classes to take blew my mind. My usual Mr. Bold wasn’t. Oh he raised his eyes every time someone yelled out his name, giving a wave and a “Hey.” But then his gaze dropped right back to the floor. By the time we got back to the car, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“What’s your deal tonight?”
“My teacher told us that junior high will be the toughest years we will experience. And if we didn’t want to have problems with other kids, we should keep our heads down and just trudge forward.”
I laughed. “Oh, sweet love…”
Yes, junior high are some of the worst years for any kid, but I couldn’t see the teacher’s remedy being the right one for my son. Such introverted behavior for someone so extroverted like his mother would only make him unhappy.
“There are other things you can do than just keep your head down. Use that outgoing personality of yours to your advantage. Befriend everyone, and I mean everyone. When you show open kindness, refusing to exclude anyone, you’ll be so well liked nobody will bother you. Not even those that end up hating you because you are so well liked.
Think about all the kids in there that just shouted your name while walking around. You already have a big group of kids that like you, just keep building on that base.”
His eyes lit up. “I like that idea better.”
“Of course you do. The only way to be happy in life is to stay true to yourself.”
It’s something we all need to remember. Though listening to people older and wiser than you is a good idea, advice is never a “one size fits all” answer. Take the time to consider if the advice is a good fit for you.