This week I went on a twelve-hour field trip with my sixth-grade daughter. Yes, twelve hours. With middle school kids. I chaperoned five girls. They talked. A lot. I tried to listen and pick up on trends in the hearts of girls that age.
I heard a few things that encouraged me and a few things that discouraged me. I tucked all of it into my trunk of wisdom to help me be a more intentional parent.
Today’s #FridayFive: Five things I heard on a middle school field trip that made me pause.
One of my charges consistently used “yes, ma’am” when speaking to me. I don’t know how we failed to make our kids demonstrate this kind of respect. I know they know, but they don’t always do. It stoked my fire to really work on this at our house, especially with the toddler.
“Take my picture!”
When selfies wouldn’t suffice, I was the group photographer. It’s not groundbreaking news—kids are a bit focused on being photographed. The frequency with which this request was made alarmed me a little. I applaud their self-confidence and shudder at their self-centered attitudes. It’s my hope that I can teach my kids to have a healthy blend of self-confidence and humility.
“I am a vegetarian, but I eat chicken. And bacon.”
Once the laughter subsided, I thought about this kid’s heart. She wants to identify with a particular group or image but is clearly a different person inside. It is worth the time it takes to help my kids explore who they are—the gifts and passions God gave them. I need to encourage them to be confident in who they are apart from a group.
“Take a picture and send it to me.”
The kids who used up their phone battery before the end of the trip seemed to struggle to enjoy the last few hours of our adventure. “I wish I could take a picture!” they agonized. I snapped a few and sent it to them via text. The whining about their inability to take pictures made me a little sad. They missed the beauty of their surrounding. We experience so much of life through the lens of a camera. I want to lead by example and try to be more present and less of a photographer.
“Starbucks! Starbucks? Starbucks!”
At our last stop, we found a Starbucks. The kids went crazy. Like the “cheep-cheep” from a nest of baby chicks, the kids started chirping, “Starbucks.” They asked about it for the two hours we spent hiking up a mountain and exploring a cave. Even at the pinnacle of our journey where it is possible to see seven states on a clear day, they asked me if they could get Starbucks when we returned. They were so focused on a consumable beverage, they rushed through an amazing trip. This last lesson was for me. I often get my eyes fixed on short-term satisfaction and miss the beauty of what is around me.
These middle-school girls were well-behaved, polite, and a lot of fun. They unknowingly said some things that made me stop and listen. Their chatter helped me find a few ways to pursue intentional parenting and intentional living.
Try listening to your kids and their friends. It won’t take you long to find their hearts in the words they speak. It is a great opportunity to figure out what is going on inside of them and what you can do to help shape them.
#FridayFive Link Up
What’s been in your ears lately? Today’s link up is all about the audibles. Share something you’re listening to in the comments, or link up using the button below.