5 Things That Will Make You Stop and Listen: Musings From A Middle School Field Trip

Listen Middle School Field Trip

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.

Middle School Field Trip

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.

Friday Five

Today’s #FridayFive: Five things I heard on a middle school field trip that made me pause.

 

“Yes, ma’am.”

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.

 

Middle School Field Trip

“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.

 

Middle School Field Trip

“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. 

 

Middle School Field Trip

“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.

#FridayFive

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19 Comments

  1. So good. I relate very much to the “take a picture and send it to me.” My phone is in a constant state of “storage is full, can not take a photo” and I struggle with enjoying the moment. I need to let that go. Also, I can’t believe 6th graders are that infatuated with Starbucks! Where is that 7 states site?

  2. Great post!! I need to get back into the Friday Five, as I love them so much!! Thanks for posting, and doing such a great job keeping these up!!

  3. I love this! The Five for Friday is so clever! It is great to see different perspective from kids. I too hope that I am not stuck behind my phone camera more then just taking in the beauty that surrounds us. I really love the vegetarian one because at that age it is so much about fitting in and wanting to have a label but not. Great post!

  4. I remember going to Chattanooga when I was little. Is that Lookout Mountain?

  5. Such a cool post. Good for you for listening. One of my favorite experiences has been chaperoning a high school orchestra trip to Disneyworld over spring break. Those kids were all I needed to believe the future isn’t in bad hands! We had a great time, and they were so helpful and respectful and fun. I was in a wheelchair for part of it, due to spraining my ankle the day before we left, and they took care of me and each other like pros. I just loved making the connection.

    I also loved Chattanoga when we went as a family. So many fun things to do, and so pretty.

  6. Oh this is just SO good Kelly. I love how you took those moments and created life lessons for us all to consider- both for our kids and US.

  7. I love the things that kids say. I work in year 2 with six and seven year olds and they can say the funniest things, and the wisest things as well. They are always making me smile- well apart from the other day when one of them gave me a hug and told me I was having a baby! I had to assure her I had just eaten a bit too much cake that day lol.

  8. The STARBUCKS thing is a THING in my house. I am bitter about it. And I have lost the battle. Coffee should be a grown up drink. Sigh….As always well done. Love this…

  9. Your audibles take me back!! Fun times. I think so often that our kids teach us as much as we teach them, if not more. Loved this post, Kelly!! Thanks for hosting the link up!

  10. Love this post! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  11. Hi Kelly! My hat is off to you for spending so much time with these energy-filled children! I find it so amazing that they are into Starbucks so deep…although I have the same feelings about the place myself 🙂

    I used to listen in on my daughter and her friends in the back seat as I drove them here and there. I rarely learned much, but I did catch the fire of their enthusiasm for life. It inspired me! I understand your idea about not missing out on life by being distracted by electronics and coffee, and that is a very good point. I guess I was lucky that those things really weren’t around much when my daughter was 12.
    Weekend blessings to you and your family!
    Ceil

  12. I love jr. high. my favorite place to sub. Sounds like a fun trip.

  13. Great insight here. I shared it on my blog FB page.

  14. You need to see rock city with the Christmas lights. SO WORTH IT. I teach middle schoolers (Jesus be near) and I love listening to them during down time. They can be truly amazing some days and total crazies the next with what they do and say. I wish more parents took the time to see how kids of a certain age interact with the world. Glad you enjoyed the day.

  15. I don’t take my cell phone to church, so when church turns into lunch and I’m away for hours, I realize just how addicted I am. we should all pause to live life without looking thru the viewfinder

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