Saturday, October 12, 2019

give them the chance to triumph

middle schoolers and self-doubt

an advisee blurts out:
“Why are middle schoolers so anxious 
about performing in front of others?”
some answer they don’t know,
one answers that it’s simple: 
“They are middle schoolers.”
I answer that in the middle school ages,
people click into a new understanding, 
a new realization of self,
and self in relation to others,

rather than empowering the optimist within,
too often such a change empowers the pessimist within,
the syndrome of the imposter can permeate them,
the fear that changes without and within
are distorting the formerly unblemished child
into a budding adult with acne on the face and in the soul,

the face and body that were perfect for parent and grandparent,
distorted toward the wrong,
and they fear what others see in them,
for each cannot see self in a real mirror,
but instead they see self in a funhouse mirror,
all wrong and funny-looking,
what a school needs to do
is to accurately mirror back to the student
the extraordinary self that is already there,
and can become even better
if believed in by others, and by the self itself,

beware the smudge, the flaw in the view,
believe in the new which builds upon the old,
and can triumph if but given the chance.

by Henry H. Walker
October 10, ‘19

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