“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were; you wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be – other days, new days, days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older; we just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.”
— The Wonder Years
The middle school years are the transformative years. You enter as a child and leave as a young adult. The transformation isn’t always easy, but it happens nonetheless.
Last week, I chaperoned my third year of the Whitford Summa outdoor school. The eighth grade boys in my cabin were more or less the same group I’ve been chaperoning for the last three years.
There have been some fun and not-so-fun memories. The first year, one boy threw up spaghetti on the bunk above me in the middle of the night. Another boy tried to pee in a waste can in the night, right near the head of another sleeping chaperone. One bus ride, a boy talked about yogurt for two hours. Last year was sunshine. This year was rain.
There were pink stuffed piglets & my little ponies. There were sexy mustaches and awesome trombones. There were squeaky mattresses and midnight horseplay. There were musical skits and bachelor skits. There were alarm clocks ignored and early morning walks. There was boy talk and girl talk.
I don’t get to see the my son’s classmates as often as I did in elementary school so this camp is really the only place I get to talk to them and see how much they had grown up. And grow they have. They are bigger, stronger, have deeper voices, and are more mature. Girls are even interesting to some of them.
It’s not always easy to watch your child and his friends grow up and it’s not always easy to chaperone a group of rambunctious middle school boys. Yet, like letting the small stuff slide as a chaperone, you have to let go of the children you knew and let them become the people they will become.
Volunteering at camp these past three years has given me a unique opportunity to see the transformation that growing up brings. More importantly, though, it’s taught me that growing up is inevitable. Accepting it, like accepting growing older, helps give me a little wisdom and strength to face my own future.
Good luck next year in high school, gentleman! You’ve come a long ways.
Today’s gift of time … Helped a teacher through sparked.com with a few technical issues about blogging.