You are about to enter a span of several years that are often the most difficult in one’s life. Middle school is a time of desperately wanting to fit in and be “liked.” In the midst of discovering more about who you truly are as a person, negotiating crazy hormones in your body, and navigating an increased school work experience…there’s an overwhelming fear of “not fitting in” that can cause really strange things to happen in yourself and others.
These are the years when friendships are ranked and categorized, all for the sake of making girls feel better about themselves. By securing the closest friendship with another girl and cutting others out of it, a false feeling of worth is created. Don’t get caught up in trying to be best friends with one or the other, or feel worthless when certain girls choose to be best friends with each other but not you. It will be difficult to cultivate friendships with many- the kind that are not based on securing worth but on caring about the other person. You will know how to do this because of your understanding of God’s love, and not through your own efforts.
The line between leader and follower can be tricky to navigate in middle school. The desire to fit in is so strong it can cloud the judgement and make us do things we know aren’t right. Your friends aren’t always going to make the best decisions, but the pull to join in will be strong. Making decisions based on what you know is right means being a leader, but there’s no guarantee anyone will follow you. You will have to find contentment in doing right rather than always fitting in, which can be a sacrifice. Here’s how you’ll know what the right thing to do is: by staying close to the heart of God and listening to his ideas about it.
The one thing I can promise you is that here in this family you will have a safe place. This is where you can always relax and be yourself no matter what kinds of drama, hurt feelings, or disappointments you face during the day at school. We love you fiercely and unconditionally. There are some things you’ve got to figure out in life, but your place in our hearts and lives isn’t one of them. You are completely secure, loved, adored, and safe with us. We are with you and for you and care about you deeply. We want to know what’s going on in your heart and mind, soothe the hurt places, and enjoy all the talents and beauty God has placed inside you- how lucky we are to have you as our daughter!
Please keep talking to us. I hope the dialogue we enjoy right now will continue, even if it has to limp a bit- it’s ok. We may not understand exactly what you are facing, but we do understand difficult feelings like fear, anger, embarrassment, and anxiety. You have our promise to be a safe place for you always. It’s ok to make mistakes, by the way. We already know that’s going to happen, and we are going to love you through the consequences of any mistakes. (We know it’s going to happen because it happens to us all the time.)
Keep your head up, look people in the eye, and be YOU because you have nothing to be ashamed of. We are looking forward to walking with you as you continue to grow into the woman God has planned for you to be.
We love you.