My son graduated from 5th grade this week. Sayonara primary, hello middle school. There were speeches and a song, recollections and recommendations. Come August, they’ll be chucked into the murky waters of middle school to swim with the big fish.
That’s right, chickadees: in eight short weeks your macaroni art and phonetic spelling primary school days will be but a mere #nofilter memory. Not quite the big league, but the minors for sure.
I can’t top the ubiquitous Wear Sunscreen commencement address that resurfaces every year around this time. Frankly, I doubt a group of armpit farting rising sixth graders are ready for life advice. They’ve got to navigate the minefield of middle school and the perils of puberty first.
Still, the occasion calls for some words of wisdom, even if they’re not old enough for pearls. So son, while you dance your way through the tweenage wasteland that is middle school, here are a few tidbits to get you through.
Expand your vocabulary. Homer is epic. The Grand Canyon is awesome. Everything else? Not so much.
Always thank the person who holds the door open for you. Thank the lunch lady and the checkout clerk too.
While we’re at it, always hold the door open for the person behind you.
Ask the girl out face to face. Break up with the boy in person. Conversation is a dying art. Cherish it.
Never start a sentence with “No offense, but.”
Don’t worry about your health education teacher asking for a show of hands to determine who has gotten their period or already has pubic hair.
The older you get, the more paperwork there is. Work on perfecting a killer signature.
Always start with something kind.
The pimple is not as noticeable as you think it is.
A best friend who makes you feel icky inside is not a best friend.
If you think your mother won’t approve of it, don’t do it.
Don’t let anyone tell you what you’re feeling isn’t real. It is. But whatever you’re feeling right now does not define who or what you are.
There’s a world of difference between being the best and doing your best.
You can have more than one group of friends.
In twenty years, people will remember the name of the kid who wasn’t afraid to wear two different color socks. Be that kid.
It’s ok to want to cuddle your Build-a-Bear one minute and want to Instagram a picture of it the next.
The quickest way to piss off an adult is to roll your eyes at them.
No one likes a smart ass.
Learn how to shake hands. Learn how to look people in the eye. Learn how to introduce yourself. They are the keys to opening doors.
There are going to be teachers you hate on a Snape level.
There are going to be teachers who don’t like you on a Potter level.
Find a genre you love and read everything you can find in it.
The next few years are going to be a whirlwind of whiplash emotions. You will enter middle school like a lamb and come out like…if not a lion, then at least a slightly older, hopefully wiser lamb. Most likely with armpit hair.