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Cornelius News

Graduating from 5th grade is one more milestone

MODERN DAD | By Jon Show

July 7. The Blonde Bomber had her fifth grade promotion ceremony last month. We commemorated the occasion by asking her to take a family picture and she refused to smile because we’re embarrassing.

Her school administrators and teachers put on an amazing event with slideshows, songs, a flash mob and a very heartfelt speech from their principal, whose own daughter was also moving on.

My attention span can best be described as non-existent, so while everyone spoke I made paper airplanes and fortune tellers out of the programs and got scolded for messing with Future Man’s hair.

My family seemed annoyed with me so I unfolded my paper airplane/program and read the life advice offered to the kids by the fifth grade teachers.

Some of the quotes stuck out so I decided to go a little deeper …

“Cherish the relationships you have and the new friendships you will be making.”

Good friends are the key to middle school.

It starts by being a good friend to others but teenagers are undefeated in their predictability, so your friendships will be tested, some will end and new ones will begin.

Someone will gang up on you. Someone will say something horrible about your appearance. Someone will exclude you from something out of spite. Someone will like the same boy.

You can’t control what people do to you but you can choose your friends. Choose them wisely and pull the eject lever the moment one of them no longer feels like your friend.

“Keep believing in yourselves.”

Your self-confidence will waiver in middle school. Whether it’s grades, appearance, possessions or abilities.

You just have to believe in yourself and know, deep in your soul, that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you.

That doesn’t give you liberty to be a bad person. It just means that being yourself is enough and it doesn’t matter what other people think about that.

Even if you have to stand in front of the mirror every morning repeating these words over and over until you believe them in your soul: “I don’t care what other people think about me.”

“Never stop learning and growing.”

In three years you’ll leave middle school and you’ll be an entirely different person, much in the same way you entered elementary school as a glorified toddler and now exit it as a full-on human being.

You’ll look different and you’ll talk differently and you’ll know more things and you’ll have a host of experiences – both good and bad – that will have shaped you as a person.

Those who emerge victorious in middle school are the ones who focus on the good experiences and not the bad ones.

You will get picked on. You’ll be put in situations when someone is asking you to do something that you know is wrong. You will have moments of crushing self-doubt.

Take those moments to learn and grow and become stronger – instead of allowing those moments to make you sad and angry and weak.

“Always take care of each other.”

Regardless of where everyone nets out on the popularity spectrum over the next three years, please know that grade school popularity is the dumbest construct in society.

Popularity is fleeting and fake and completely geographical. It exists only in the minds of certain people who live in one place. Being a good person who takes care of other people is forever and transcends where you live.

Besides, once you get to college everyone quickly learns that the jocks and the musicians and the emos and the nerds and everyone else … they’re all good people who just came from different clans.

“Cherish the relationships you have.”

Boys are on the horizon. There’s nothing I can do about it. I would stop it if I could but I can’t so … boys.

Middle school boys are stupid when it comes to girls. I guess they’re well-intentioned but none of them possess the instincts or life experience to reciprocate the affection of a girl.

Since I can’t lock you away I’ll just say this. You’re going to have good boyfriends and bad boyfriends. You’re going to have ones who treat you well and ones who treat you terribly.

One will break your heart and I will fantasize about punching him in the face because that’s what good dads do. Right? I think so.

At the end of the day, don’t let your self-worth be determined by boys. There is nothing on this planet more unworthy of a girl’s self-worth than the attention of a middle school boy.

“Remember, I’m always an email away!”

You’re gonna need advice. You’re gonna need someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through.

While we hope it’s us, the hard truth is that you’ll probably seek out others for advice on some things and that’s ok. Adults tend to forget that we didn’t like talking to our parents about stuff when we were teenagers either.

“See ya later suckers!”

That wasn’t in the program I was just making sure you’re still reading.

Your time in middle school will go by faster than you expect because that’s just what happens.

Three years from now you’ll walk out of middle school for the last time, hopefully filled with more good memories than bad, more self confidence than self-doubt, more great friends than bad ones … in part because you sought out advice when you needed it.

The bus will pull up to our neighborhood and I will be there at the bus stop. Shirtless. Waving like Forrest Gump.

Why? Because you have no idea how embarrassing I can be.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 13-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 10-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.