While on the way to school Friday morning, my youngest daughter shared that she was a little nervous about going to middle school. I smiled slightly, she wouldn’t be moving from 6th grade to middle school for about 8 months, so I encouraged her not to worry about that right now. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of the fear but I wondered where that thought came from, and what exactly made her nervous. I asked her what she was nervous about, and discovered, that for the most part, it was the lack of familiarity and the fact that not many of her friends will be attending the school she’ll attend. We talked a minute about how easy it was to make new friends but I also realized she’s been a little bit sheltered.
Her school has been on a year round track system, and although there are somewhere around 6 or 8 different classrooms per grade, each track of kids usually stays with each other throughout their elementary years. So that means….that for the last 6 years of school, she’s had mostly the same kids in her class every year. Plus, not only had she attended that school all of her elementary years, but she had been attending prior to kindergarten. She’d been there every day, her whole life. Her older sister attended from the time she was born and by the time she started kindergarten she was a pro.
Making new friends has never been a problem for her, but this was making her nervous. I knew I wanted to empower her and give her the tools to handle this nervousness. We talked for a few minutes about stepping out of her comfort zone and how that makes you grow. I explained how when you take small steps and find small success, then you start to feel stronger and more comfortable. I joked with her and told her she’d lived in a bubble at her school. She was the big sixth grader that everyone looked up to but she was just going to have to grow up into a middle school student. By the time she got out of the car at school she was laughing and not so serious. That was a good thing but I know I need to continue to find ways to make her feel more at ease.
I do not like it when my girls have to step into something that makes them nervous. I want to rescue them and make it all better. But I realize that is detrimental to their becoming confident adults. So once again I have to step back, encourage her, help her, and pray for her and let her grow up a little once again.