The eighth natural wonder of the world has been found, it is in middle school…the brain of an adolescent. It is indeed something to wonder at. Scientific studies have been done, survey’s tallied, charts graphed all come to the same conclusion of: simply marvel.
If you live with, teach, or coach these wonders then you see the struggle of the beauty that lies within. One day you say goodnight to your pleasant, polite, somewhat compliant child. The overall happy-go-lucky child who enjoys school, at least lunch and recess, suddenly almost overnight, becomes this unrecognizable roller coaster of emotions who knows quite a bit more than you.
Ahhhh you are living with whom I have lovingly deemed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Sit back (not really – stay ever aware of all that is happening around you), hold your arms up in the air (asking the Lord to guide your every word and reaction), and prepare for the roller coaster ride of your life!
Listen, I love my middle schoolers. As a parent who has experienced this ride and a teacher who hops on daily – let me assure you…this too shall pass. As a defender of the weak, let me also assure you that what your child, now in the thralls of growing, is no more enjoying the sudden loops that send them upside down (laughter turning to tears of sadness that just as suddenly turn to anger and they have no idea why either); the unannounced curve that leads to the sudden drop (changes happening in their body, to their body, in their brain that is out of their control). This has our middle schoolers holding onto that bar in front of them for dear life.
Exploration proves that inside their brain lies thousands of neutrons filled with curiosity, desire to belong, and a “want to” to make their mark. There are explosions of emotion triggered in the brain that range from a shooting star to that of a volcano. Creativity abounds when guidance is given with no box to color within the lines. As neutrons shoot across the brain waves, so do their thoughts – concrete and rational from somewhere over the rainbow to where the apocalypse is taking place over the most mundane matter (to the non-adolescent mind). Do you see the beauty that lies within?
To the adolescent mind
Things are as they appear.
Emotions run deep and change like the wind.
Selfishness is melting into an others-centered, others-needed, others-orientation – albeit slowly.
And most days pets remain at the top of their prayer concerns.
Let’s step back and marvel at, encourage big, empathize with, laugh with, come alongside, and while holding accountable extend grace. The greatest lessons I have learned as a parent, teacher, and coach of this eighth wonder is to pray Scripture over and for them, to guard my reactions, and celebrate how God has wired this season of their lives. You have moved from the easy going carousel season to that of an exciting roller coaster, look out – bumper cars and go-carts are next! “Fear not,” I am learning that His grace is sufficient and His mercies new every season, every morning.