The amount of beauty products scattered across your bathroom counter is endless.
Yesterday it was bath toys and huge bows.
We will blink, and all of those beauty products will be gone, moved to your college dorm or an apartment or—who could fathom—the bathroom you’ll share with your spouse.
When family and friends came to visit your tiny newborn cuteness in the hospital, they assured us you’d be a teen before we knew it.
With all the changing diapers, bottle feedings, and crying, we couldn’t imagine this day would arrive so soon.
I remember my own first day of seventh grade like it was a week and a half ago.
It was the moment I realized grade school friends didn’t necessarily carry over into junior high, wearing trendy clothing was way more important than it had been the year before, and some boys cared a whole lot more about my body shape and how far I was willing to go than the kindness inside of my heart. (This will last a long time, by the way, but eventually, the good ones grow up. And for the love of all that is good I hope you’re smart enough to choose them.)
I’m sure you’re nervous. Stomach-tying, punch-in-the-gut scared to death to walk down the hall that first day.
Probably dreading the judgment you’ll meet over your choice of clothing (Oh no you didn’t just wear a t-shirt the first day!), your class elective decisions (Art and music?), and what you did all summer (Why weren’t you at camp like the rest of us?).
Terrified you’ll have no one to sit by at the lunch table, or that—help me, Lord—you’ll be at that lunch table. (You know, that one.)
I’ve taught you how to straighten your hair, put-on make up, and pick out your clothes. You’ve learned the subtle art of conversation and of practicing basic table manners.
But there’s so much more you need to know before you begin seventh grade:
1. False Friends Come and Go
It’s life, sister. There will always be a small group of girls who appear to be best friends, but stab each other in the back. And the very things they do to each other, they will crucify you for, don’t you worry.
My advice? Tempting as it is to emulate those girls, don’t become them. The patterns they start in middle school carry long into adulthood. Trust me on that one; I learned it the hard way.
Hold on to the few friends who show themselves loyal.
And in return, you be loyal, too.
2. Haters Gonna Hate
Especially if you’re different. Fear can be smelled a mile away in middle school. Don’t care what others think? They know it, and it bothers them. Change is scary. How can anyone maintain their status if everyone’s asserting independence all of a sudden?
You’ve chosen one path while they’ve chosen another, possibly one more celebrated in school, like sports or cheer.
That’s okay. You do you, girl. And be proud of them for what they do. All of you are trying your hardest to figure out who you are.
3. Kindness Goes Far
Some people are not going to be your jam. You don’t have to pretend to be their bestie. You do, however, have to be kind.
Be kind to the girl who reeks of cigarettes; she didn’t ask to live in a smoke-filled home.
The boy with the learning disability didn’t choose it. Don’t make him feel less than a person.
The cheerleaders and athletes? They love what they do. Cheer right along with them. Support the team. Yell at the pep rallies. Go to as many games as possible.
Appreciate the kid who plays the trombone in the band. What would a football game be without a little music to pump us up?
The girl who’s kind of rough with everyone might be getting it pretty rough at home. What would a smile do for her?
4. Love Who You Are and Where You Came From
Love who you’re becoming. Love your highs and your lows. Love your accomplishments and love your failures. Your good qualities and your faults. Be kind to yourself, just as you are kind to others.
Love your family. Whether you understand it or don’t, God chose them for you, a purposed plan. Love when they succeed and when they break. Celebrate their good and cry with their bad. They are yours until you have your own.
5. Grow Close to Your Creator
Your mom and dad know a lot about you. They won’t know everything. Your siblings and friends, they love to hear all your secrets. But they will never know all about you.
But there is One who does know. He formed you in the womb. He knew your beginning and your end. He has destined every moment in your life, good and bad, and He holds you in the palm of His hand.
Talk to Him. Cry to Him. Lean on Him. He is ALWAYS there.
Seventh grade is hard. Classes are more intense, grades matter like never before, and you’re juggling a few more responsibilities. Friendships will be formed and broken, and more than likely, a few boys will smash your heart, and you might do the same.
My prayer, sweet seventh grade girl, is that you’ll make the most of this short blessing of freedom…of innocence…of youth.
And know you’ll never have such carefree days again.