Tag Archives: Middle school adolescent development

Words of Wisdom

Being a “Word Nerd” definitely has its side affects. I collect words.  I love words.  I love the origin of words, the invention of new words and the evolution of words.  I’m pretty certain I’m the only person I know who waits for Webster’s to come out with its “Word of the Year.”  It’s pretty much up there with the Oscars or Grammys.  And, no.  I’m not kidding.

I also love the power of words.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve collected sayings and quotes for whatever reason.  Sometimes, I’d clip them and use them in scrap-/memory-booking activities for my family or Girl Scout Troop.  Sometimes, I’d write them in a journal solely dedicated to motivation and  inspiration. Maybe spiritual. Maybe physical. Maybe intellectual.  Sometimes, I’d save them simply because of the giggle or grin they’d bring to me at the moment or because they dumbfound me with the ignorance that pervades some people when they speak. Outloud. In public.

I’ve taught middle level students for over 20 years, and sometimes no matter the cartwheels I do, they still lack motivation or inspiration for any writing assignment I give, much less for life itself.  So, I decided to devote part of my week to sharing my little nuggets of inspiration with them…and let them decide what the message is.  Hopefully, one (or more) of them will find light in the passages I share, and they, too, can clip them and put them in their own little treasure chest for future use.

From Today’s Quotes:

  • Facing it – always facing it – that’s the way to get through it. Face it! ~ Joseph Conrad, British author, considered to be one of the first modernist writers
  • Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln (I would hope most of us know who he was)
  • None will improve your lot if you yourself do not. ~ Bertolt Brecht, politically-infused German playwright
  • Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kids, Let’s go.’ ~ Maya Angelou, American author and poet
  • One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. ~ Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychiatrist and father of psychoanalysis

Now, I usually introduce these and let students sit on them for a spell.  Then, we talk.  I don’t normally encourage 100% conformity, so I accept pretty much any and all interpretations they offer.  Again, it allows me as a middle level educator to see where their heads are at…even when it may be lightyears from where my head may be at!  That’s what makes each discussion so unique.  The whole purpose is to read it, reflect on it and determine whether it meets “inspiration level” in our own minds…and then determine why or why not.

I’ll share more little pearls of wisdom I’ve shared with my students.  Maybe next time, I’ll share their reads on the quotes.  It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Until the next chapter,

Ms. H


Believe it or Not~They Still Need Us!

When children reach their middle level years (ages 10-15), parents/guardians may experience a false sense of relief because they believe their preteens no longer need supervision after school.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  According the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, studies reveal that youth with too much time on their hands may actually be at increased risk of substance abuse issues.

One study found that eighth graders who were unsupervised for 11 hours of a week were twice as likely to use drugs and alcohol as those under some type of adult supervision. That’s just a little scary!

Let’s face it.  In today’s economy, parents/guardians have to hold jobs, many of those not ending until well after their children are let out of school.  Day care costs put family budgets at risk, and not everyone has a family network on which to rely for supervision.  So, how can adults find the after-school supervision their kids need without breaking the bank?  Here are some options:

  1. School activities.  If you look into what schools have to offer after school, you will find a multitude of opportunities.  Anything from after-school homework clubs to science and technology clubs to athletic programs.  There is always something going on once that end-of-the-day bell rings.  These can lead to positive, lifelong connection for our adolescents.
  2. Community centers.  Many communities have Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and/or other youth programs in which preteens and teens can get involved.  If there is nothing like this in your community, gather some friends and start one!
  3. Volunteering.  These connections often lead to an increased self-esteem because of that “doing good for others” sense of self worth that accompanies community service opportunities.  Just think of the job skills your child can acquire by making the world a better place.  A definite win-win!
  4. Youth organizations.  Scouting, 4-H and many other student organizations have programs designed for middle level students. What better place to meet new friends, connect with others with like interests and develop work and life skills that will benefit them in the future!
Whether they admit it or not, adolescents still need us.  They need guidance, boundaries, compliments and privileges.  They need us to be the adults.  Trust me, the investment made now will pay dividends down the road.
Keeping the Magic,