Middle School. A time of transitions filled with big and sometimes awkward changes. Physical, social and personality changes are all happening and sometimes by the minute. If you have a middle schooler, you likely know the middle school angst, energy, enthusiasm, humor, anger, silliness, and the emotional highs and lows that come with each day.
In the midst of all these highs and lows between kid and teenager, influences from traditional media, social media and peer pressure abound. It is a time when kids can develop low self-esteem and insecurities about who they are or how they look in these transitional years.
Self-esteem is defined as a person’s overall judgment of himself or herself pertaining to self-competence and self-worth based on reality. We want our students to grow up and come through this transition with strong identities uninfluenced by peer pressures and what the outside world thinks. To base their overall judgment of themselves on the reality that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and are God’s masterpiece (Eph. 2:10), not on what the media defines is real.
Part of this ongoing effort at NLA is Spiritual Emphasis week. In preparation for these two days, our Senior class participated in Fast a Flex, where they prayed for all the seats in the worship center leaving notes of encouragement and love under each seat that the middle schoolers would be sitting in. Senior students also led our middle schoolers in times of worship. What a beautiful display of leadership from our seniors and it’s amazing to see middle schoolers unabashedly rush to the stage for worship.
Heather Flies, Junior High Pastor at Wooddale Church, was our speaker and she LOVES middle schoolers. They are her passion. Her ministry. She speaks to pre-teens and teens about Media Influence, Peer Pressure, Self-esteem, Stress, Holiness and Godly friendships. Heather walked through the doors of NLA on Sept 22 and spent two days pouring love into our Middle Schoolers during Spiritual Emphasis Week.
Take away lesson? At a time when kids are in an awkward stage of life, know that God made you this way, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. It is a good thing. God loves you and He hand-picked each characteristic that you have. Praise Him for who you are and don’t compare yourself to others. Be aware of the influences and relationships that speak into your life. Don’t listen to the negative media, listen to those that love you. And just as God loves you and made you the way you are, He also loves those around you. Treat each other with kindness. Build each other up and don’t tear each other down. Reach out to the people around you and speak kindness into their lives. It may be the very thing that shows them the love of God.
The two days were also filled with fun and team-building activities like obstacle courses, games of human tic-tac-toe and the ice cream truck, which of course was a huge hit.