The start of a new school year has been hard for some of the boys in my family, in particular, my son Davis. It breaks my heart and I haven’t been able to find the right thing to say or do. I reached out to my oldest son to see if he could share some words of wisdom with his little brother about the middle school adjustment. I’m not sure if Ellis ever said anything to Davis, but what he did do was mention to his friend Nicole how sad Davis has been and she was moved to write a letter to my son.
I had to share with you the beauty and wisdom in this special person’s words. This letter to Davis is a cherished gift that we will treasure forever. Thank you Nicole for this amazing piece of truth and for the love you share. You are a wonderful person and we are all lucky to call you friend.
Your brother told me you started Murchison this week, and I would like to say that I am somehow both very sorry and very jealous. I know that you’re probably feeling pretty stressed and confused and maybe even scared right now, because I know that I definitely was when I started middle school.
Fun fact, if you gave me a time machine right now, the first place I would go to in my life is the sixth grade. There are SO many things no one told me about when I was in middle school that I wish I had known to get me through those years. I know a lot of this might be off base, or non applicable to you, but I thought just in case I’d share them.
So here they are, seven things I wish I knew in the sixth grade.
I really hope this one isn’t true
The kids when I was your age were mean. Seriously, horribly mean. I hope so much that kids have gotten better but assuming the worst, let me tell you this. The mean things people said to me in middle school tore me apart. However, they now make me laugh harder than almost anything. The things I worried about when I was twelve were absolutely ridiculous. And the things I hated about myself are now, no kidding, my FAVORITE things about myself. So do not let the little mean things get to your head.
Speaking of which
2. The mean kids, are just kids.
They are just as scared or stressed as you, if not more. They just haven’t figured out how to deal with that yet. Give them the benefit of the doubt and move away from them. Do not let their unhappiness threaten yours.
3. Be careful when choosing your friends
I was friends with the meanest girls I knew in sixth grade, solely because I was absolutely terrified of them. My friend choice is by far my biggest regret of that year, because being friends with people who make you unhappy is the absolute worst idea you can have.
Also on that
4. Try your best to stay true to yourself
I changed a lot about myself in middle school. Because I made friends with people who did not like me, I stopped being me. I changed how I dressed, acted, and even thought. Yes, you are a kid and you are in sixth grade. You are not supposed to know who you are at this point in time. You are allowed to change and grow, because you are after all, a human being. But do not sacrifice the things that make you brilliant for comfort. There are people who love exactly what you are, and you will be much happier if you stay true to what you love and what you believe.
5. It is okay to be uncomfortable, sad, and scared
Most people, kids or adults are. This is going to be hard. Whoever says it isn’t probably blocked out middle school completely. It is hard, and it is new and it is strange. You are learning who you are, all the while being under all kinds of new stress like academics and social pressures. You are going to have days where you are lost, or unhappy. They are normal. Just know that they are temporary and you are not alone. Everyone in history has had those days, it is okay to be off. It is not okay to tell yourself you are anything short of amazing and by yourself. You have an incredible amount of people that absolutely adore you.
Fun fact, I am definitely one of them. Do not tell my friends or family, but on a list of ten people I wish I could be more like, you would definitely be written down.
Oh hey look at that
6. Do not forget that you are hilarious, brilliant, and loved
This is probably going to be the hardest. I forget this most days, most people do. Which is sad, for most people. But it would be especially heartbreaking for you. I am not exaggerating when I say you are a phenomenon. Every conversation I’ve ever had about you has been constant praising. You are a fantastic gift to everyone that meets you. If some people forget to mention it, know that they think you are a great kid. And of course, that you are.
7. This year is going to feel like a lifetime, but it is not even close to forever.
I swear sometimes in those portables I would look down at my hands and expect to see wrinkles. The days at Murchison are so long, especially your worst. The days you feel lost, sad, or confused will always feel far past 24 hours.
But before you know it, you’re going to be eighteen years old, on your third day of college, sitting in a cafeteria in a city you don’t know, writing to a sweet sixth grader that it all comes and goes too fast.
You are only 12 once, and I wish so badly I could trade places with you right now. You are too young to be worried or scared. I know that will not stop you from doing those things, but please, for someone who wishes almost everyday they could go back and do it again,
smile. Laugh. and love the fact that you are a kid.
You are safe, loved, and amazing. You will get stressed and sad and scared, but know that when you look back all you’re going to think is “Why?”.
Because you never know.
This could very easily be the best year you’ve had yet.
Just remember that it all works out, and you honestly have nothing to be afraid of.
But if you are afraid, or lonely, or worried for whatever reason
You can always talk to me or your brother, or your mom, or any other person on the long list of people who care.
Even if you think it’ll sound dumb. They will listen and they will help.
Good luck you cunning, pliable, chestnut haired sunfish.
I know you are going to do great.