Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Eighth Grade Steve

I ran into both Victoria and Desmond today. They were in my last period Bible class last year as eighth graders but now they are high schoolers and on a different schedule. I see Victoria most days  but Desmond, a cool guy if there ever was one, not so much. In fact, I wasn't sure he was re-enrolled at WCS for a week or so but I am pretty sure I just didn't recognize him. Like many young men between middle school and the freshman class, he hit a growth spurt and is wearing his hair in a different cut. They were part of one of my favorite classes in recent years and I really miss them. And they are inexorably linked in my mind over a conversation last Spring. Allow me to elaborate.

There is a built-in eye rolling genetic trait in eighth grade girls when it comes to their perceived immaturity of eighth grade boys. I generalize each year in class and tell the young ladies that these gentleman typically don't care about what they care about and could care less that they don't. The girls want them to care and act in a more adult mode. The boys' reaction when I tell the girls: "Huh?" That about sums it up. I also always stick up for the boys and tell the girls that in several years, they will change their minds as the boys grow up. I also tell them the young men in our school are being raised by parents who have the same high standards as the girls' folks do so it's going to even out eventually. I can't remember all the particulars but one day in April, I asked Victoria if she could have tolerated me as an eighth grade boy. Honestly, she wasn't sure. So I asked Victoria, one of the absolute very best students I have ever taught, another question:
"Of all the eighth grade boys, which one do you think is most like what you think I was as an eighth grader?"
You can probably see where this is going. After thinking for a couple of seconds, she told me, "Desmond." I think I was surprised a little but I'm also not sure who else I thought she would have chosen. I trust Victoria's judgment and she had known Desmond longer than she had known me. Instantly, I started affording Desmond a great deal more respect. It was the very least I could do in an odd Back To The Future sort of scenario!

In my Bible classes on both the middle school and high school levels, we cover the early story of Jesus, at least as much as we know. We speak of how Mary was perhaps about fifteen when she conceived the Savior and we speak of the story of Jesus at twelve in the temple. We talk of kids we know those ages so we can visualize the personages of the mother and Son. I shudder thinking of eighth grade Steve but I was pretty normal if memory serves me correctly. Life is a series of forward steps although not always in a smooth cadence. I make it easy for my kids on the test when we talk about Jesus' maturity gains recorded in Luke 2:52 by using ly words:

Lord willing, my classes will follow this pattern that Jesus modeled. With numerous missteps along the way, I think I have and I am confident Desmond will as well. He owes it to Victoria.

Applicable quote of the day:
"I've never run into a person who yearns for their middle school days."
Jeff Kinney

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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