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on junior high and spiritual gifts.

January 8, 2011

This past week I went on a retreat with 200+ junior highers to Erie, Pennsylvania.

I can sum it up in a two words: screaming girls. Just kidding (kind of). The retreat was really fun, and it went well. We had many group activities, free time with sports and board games, chapels, and a special trip to Splash Lagoon (an indoor water park).

Even though it was a great time, junior high is so not my thing. I have a sister in 8th grade, but I think she’s pretty chill,  so I can relate to her. For the most part, however, I don’t know what to say to junior highers. Here’s the thing–I think they’re pretty weird, so I try to say weird stuff and then they just stare blankly at me. Or I can see they’re acting all cool, and I try to make them think I’m cool, and they just stare blankly at me. I don’t know how to impress them. Or how to make them laugh.

I think junior highers are cooler than they used to be. Exhibit A: I think I was about 11 or 12 in this picture.

 

yikes.

 

Here I am in 7th grade with my cousin Zac and our History Day project.

 

so happy.

 

I mean, my memories of junior high include a ton of awkwardness: white eye shadow, bangs, laughing at jokes I didn’t really get, glasses, chatting on AIM, orthodontia, crushes, passing notes about boys in study hall, and trying to act like I hadn’t just come off of 6 years of home school. Okay, maybe junior highers aren’t cooler than they used to be, but oh my gosh I definitely wasn’t one of the cool ones back in my day.

I’m good with babies and toddlers, and then somewhere along the line–maybe 4th grade–kids start to weird me out. Once they’re in 11th or 12th grade, I can deal with them again, but those in between ages aren’t my forte. And guess what? That’s okay.

At the retreat (as I felt like I was returning  to my junior high awkwardness by trying to relate with the junior highers) I looked around and noticed other people who were really good at relating with that age group. Maybe two years ago I would have felt bad about that and thought, why can’t I relate like that? Why is it hard for me to think of things to talk about with them? But I actually didn’t think that this time–I’ve grown and come into a fuller understanding of spiritual gifts. I know to some extent what mine are, and I like the way that God distributes them among the body of Christ. I think it’s really cool. Instead of feeling jealous of that ability, I got excited about the reminder of how God has uniquely gifted each person. It’s really fun to see other people shining in their element, even if I’m not exactly in mine.

What were you like in junior high? With what age group do you most enjoy working?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rothman permalink
    January 9, 2011 11:57 pm

    I was a “popular” athlete in middle school till 8th grade when I spoilded Shelby Yannerella’s surprise birthday party but telling her about it.

    then, I was the weird, awkward, depressed, athlete. I hated middle school.

    and chels, I am act the same way around them. I get blank stares a lot. lol

  2. Katie permalink
    January 10, 2011 9:52 am

    just for the record, i think middle schoolers (at least the ones that I work with) are definitely less awkward looking now than we were when we were that age. there have been multiple times when i come into work and some of the girls are wearing the same clothes as me. when i was in middle school i was wearing overalls or boys button up shirts. my awkward stage lasted 7 years.

    however, socially they’re just as awkward.

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