The Middle school years are an intense time of growth as a child transforms into the man or woman they are becoming. To be given the title of man or woman several characteristics and obvious changes must occur. Besides the obvious one of physical change, confidence, maturity and wisdom to make good decisions are vital. It takes courage not only for the child but also the parents and carers to allow a child to become an adult. And, as parents and carers, putting the right learning opportunities in place are important for a person to become a man or woman of character.
Several years ago, my kitchen window framed a living example of this notion with an adult bird pushing it’s offspring out of the nest so that it could learn to fly. My heart was in my mouth as I watched, holding my breath to see if it would be able to flap enough to not fall like a rock to the ground. Thankfully it didn’t – it didn’t fly gracefully though on that maiden voyage – but it wasn’t many days before it was flying gracefully (or raucously) around our back yard.
As Middle School teachers, we see year 7 students begin their year nervously and anxiously – and equally their parents. Yet, here we are halfway through the year… and they are confidently ‘flying’ around the school off to classes, engaged in various activities, (still working on making wise decisions and learning to understand the adult world) but having made significant growth on this journey already!
Our Year 9 students head off to an overnight retreat in the next few weeks to explore. ‘What does it mean to be a man or woman?’ Knowing and learning about this next stage in their life as well as growing in confidence in their ability to be what God has designed for them as well as proud of who they are is our objective. Wisdom is preceded by knowledge (and experience) so along with an understanding – sometimes all it takes is that one moment of trust from the adult in their child (adult bird knowing their chick is ready), plus the innate capabilities God has placed within them at this age and stage of life and finally AND MOST IMPORTANTLY the nudge to become all that they are meant to be!
Our Year 9’s are also in the process of making subject choices for senior school and beyond in these last few weeks. While they may not know what is ‘beyond that nest’ … the choices need to be made. Considerable plans have been put in place to assist our students to make these choices and to give them the best options.
Another area ‘beyond the nest’ is in the area of technology. We are revisiting our stand on technology use in relation to iPads, specifically games. We are considering – do we allow games on these primarily educational devices with families monitoring the decisions at home? With the basis for this approach being that we want to raise responsible young men and women who learn self-restraint as well as discernment in what is acceptable and what is not. I would be interested in your thoughts and as a part of this will be sending out a survey to gauge this and how you have found iPad usage with your child while at GCCC.
May God continue to guide and bless you as you raise your children into young men and women.
Jacqualina Vreeling, Head of Middle School