13-Years-Old and in Friendship Bootcamp

How do we learn to find – and be – a friend? This year I have the daily pleasure of commuting my 13 and 14-year-old grandkids home from school – often with their friends. After a year of remote learning, social navigation looms large in the conversations. Oh those lunch tables. The high stakes game. Who is in – and who is not?

Like a drill sergeant dresses down recruits for any hint of ego, middle schools are filled with judgments and dismissals. But at this age there is much more going on than being able to conquer physical demands and disciplines. This is the time in their lives when they start to find and practice who they are. And, perhaps as importantly, who they are like. How they want the world to see and understand them.

Someone once said, “All the world’s a stage …” At this time in their lives, kids conjure up all the cultural forces they can – how to stand cool – how to walk across a room cool – how to dress – cool – how to greet – how to belong and be one of. They find several clusters with whom they feel comfortable. Different groups light up different facets of their own identity.

I keep my eyes on the road full of appreciation.

Your tears are like jet fuel to me!

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