On August 17th, 2021, I released my 11-year-old Black son to your halls. This is a first for me. My motherly habits have been in overdrive as worry and concern take over my being. My appreciation for all that you will teach him is growing and my fear for what he may witness is becoming overwhelming.
We are excited… why? Because middle school is a journey to the next level. This is the age where he will begin to really figure out his identity, and his likes and dislikes. He will begin to see what separates him from others and what brings him closer to some. His friendships will be tested and so will his knowledge. Confusion may set in, but so will clarity.
The world that he has come to know may look a little different as his lens changes. That will be a big part of his growth. The conversations that he’ll hear in the hallways will pique his curiosity. The lessons taught about historical nuances will shed light on the past. The behavioral elements of his peers will show him that there are so many variations of people and perceptions.
To the middle school faculty, please let your instructional gift guide his young mind in a manner that will carry him far. Teach him many splendid things. Find what tickles his brain and help him develop it into something magnificent. Keep his mom in the back of your head. Know that I am rooting for success and joy for you as his teacher and for him as your student. Please don’t hesitate to reach out as I will be a known presence throughout his time in middle school. I know some days will be more difficult than others but remember why you chose this profession. Please be joyful and accurate. Please be kind and fair. Please be understanding and accepting. But most of all, please be you!
To the other middle school students, please be aware that my son is very cared for, and his parents are very active in every aspect of his life. Remember, what is his belongs to him, not you. We will be sure to remind him of the same thing. Please remember that bullying is a sign of fear and weakness. Despite everyone’s differences, you all are wonderful. Bullying is not necessary, and it shows a deep insecurity about yourself. However, if my words fall on deaf ears, resist the temptation to bully my son because I am a mom who does not tolerate it whatsoever. Please be respectful to one another, the faculty and staff, the campus, and yourselves. Middle school is what you make it. The experience should be great, fun, and educational. If you go in with the right mindset, learning is fun! This is going to prepare you for your future in so many ways – – so let’s make it count! And if you ever need one, I’m always there to give free mom hugs!
To my fellow middle school parents, sigh! If you are anything like me, your mind is running rampant. “Did I get the right school supplies?” “Is the bus going to be on time?” “Are his clothes decent and appropriate?” “Will he make friends?” “Is he going to be able to find his classes?” If your mind is going in circles like this, you are not alone! If you’ve done your best thus far, your child will be alright. Pep talks with yourself and positive affirmations with your child may help alleviate some middle school jitters for you and your kid(s). Parenting is not easy, especially with all the changes middle schoolers go through amid the chaotic world we live in. Hold your head high and know that you have the prayers and support of another momma.
To the middle school building, you have my most precious jewel. Protect him at all costs. Shield away any hurt, harm, or peril that may be lurking inside or out. Give him a sense of security while he trots up and down hallways, to offices, cafeterias, libraries, classrooms, and the fields. Encamp a sacred and protected space over every being while on school property. Be a place of peace and sanctity for the individuals who will cross your corridors daily. I pray that the students respect your partitions while you keep them safe and warm.
To the community around the middle school, be proud of the schools in your area. Volunteer your time and services. Protect these areas. Keep them safe for our children. Pray over their functionality, preparation, and proceedings. Make community decisions that inform the betterment of these establishments. Keep the students in mind. Remember that their future does depend on you and your choices.
To my middle school son, remember that momma has your back forever. There is no battle that is too big or too small. We will conquer middle school and every other obstacle in our life together. And when the time comes that I can no longer be with you physically, momma still has your heart and will be a guiding light. I promise to help you understand things you don’t know. I promise to be compassionate on your hard days. I promise to be stern when you need it. I promise to be active and present throughout your journey. I promise to cheer you on and make sure you have all the tools you need to be successful. For my success as a mom is measured in you. Together, we will be great. You have the support of a mighty village, and we will not let you fail. And on those days when you feel like giving up, remember that your momma never gave up on you!
Dear middle school, it is with a humble heart that I write this letter to you. I am as nervous as I am excited. I know that you will provide a unique experience for my son and the other students. I know that you will teach them some things that cannot be taught elsewhere. I know that you will prepare them for their next level. Remember all the things written here. Remember the parents, the students, the faculty and staff, the community and all the various aspects that go into creating a cohesive middle school environment. Ken Harris said it best, “All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think.” They start middle school the same way.