Our youngest child started middle school this year. That makes two of our children in middle school and one in high school. I would classify us solidly in the uncool and clueless beyond compare and embarrassing beyond comprehension according to our younger three children. To make sure my humiliation is total and complete, it appears I have been called to lead a small group in the Middle School Student ministry.
I know the above to be true and this was proven out when I asked my middle schoolers how they would feel if I volunteered as a small group leader in the Student Ministry at our church. My son quickly informed me that they are in fact NOT in need of leaders. There are leaders everywhere! When that didn't fly, he informed that he would not be able to concentrate on the teaching if I'm there so for his soul's sake, I should not volunteer. When that didn't fly, he told me no one wants their mom or dad there and that he would not be attending should I also be in the same room. In reality 80% of small group leaders have kids in middle school as I was told by the Middle School pastor. My daughter was slightly more agreeable or was she? Who knows what she really thinks? These are treacherous waters I'm swimming in.
My first Sunday down there was a trip back in time to Awkward Land except with electronic devices. Middle School is just as awkward as I remember. I broke out into a cold sweat as I was immediately transported to my PE class in 1974 in my blue one piece uniform trying desperately to avoid being hit by the school jocks in a dodge ball game.
Kids today have their noses buried in their phones watching videos, playing games, etc. All we had was Tiger Beat magazine! All the same, I could still spy the cool kids in cool cliques, the clueless boys eating donut holes (my son was one of those) and everyone else in between. I was very tempted to bury my own nose in my phone, but resisted the urge so I could engage these awkward middle schoolers. I had marginal success at best but hope to get better. Next week I plan to resort to the food method and bring donuts. Yes, I'm willing to buy engagement at this point. Is that bad?