(This post was written by Matt Grimes, Middle School Ministry Pastor)
Okay, so I have been writing for a while, and since I am the Middle School Pastor, I figured it was time to talk about some specifically middle school. So here we go…a blog post that is focused on parenting middle school aged students, it’s called “Getting in their Shoes”.
One of the most important things you will do as you parent your teenager is to put yourself in their shoes. I don’t literally mean their shoes, those things really stink!!! What I do mean, is that we have to take the time to try and put ourselves into the context that they live and think in. When we do that, we will gain a better perspective on what they are going through and why they make the decisions and choices that they make. Over the next two weeks I want to help us uncover two specific steps that can help us to put ourselves into their shoes.
Step 1: Admit that things are different than they were when you were in Middle School. I am a smart man, so I will not even begin to describe what things were like when many of you were middle schoolers that could be the end of my life. But let’s take a look at what life was like when I was a middle school teenager:
- Stamps cost .25 cents each.
- Rodney King beating gained world attention.
- Bill Clinton elected President.
- Compact Disc over took the Cassette Tape.
- Only 201 million TV’s in the US.
- The Internet came on the scene.
- Michael Jackson first accused of Child Abuse.
- Favorite TV Show: Full House
Today, stamps have almost doubled in cost, most students don’t even know who Rodney King was, or what a cassette tape is…most don’t even understand the concept of how a compact disc works. Think about it, we can fit ten thousand songs onto an electronic device smaller than a cassette tape, and it still be able to be used for surfing the internet, checking facebook updates, and looking for the best restaurant to eat lunch at. The truth is that things have changed drastically since we were in middle school. We have to remember if we want to connect with our students, that things are different than what they were when we were in middle school. This means that at times they are going to act differently than we might have when we were there age…they have been conditioned by a totally different culture than we were. Our job is to not rage against the culture, but seek to understand the culture that surrounds them and help them to navigate through it successfully. Times have changed, let’s put ourselves in their shoes so we can help them walk through the middle school years successfully.