Wednesday, January 24th
Today I spent a couple of hours taking pictures of elementary school kids during recess. My goal was to capture candid photos of young children laughing and playing and enjoying each other, and was surprised at how difficult this task would prove. I watched fourth grade boys play touch football, and by “touch” I mean they tackled each other on five inches of ice to get the ball. While they argued over first downs, a tumultuous exchange of serious accusations arose between two girls gone wild near the tetherball court. Once I realized that the yard duty teacher had that under control, I ventured to the field to observe the action there. That resulted in my breaking up a wrestling match gone wrong between four boys. I made them stand and apologize and lectured them on how to treat their friends. Two girls followed me around for nearly half an hour because when you’re a mom with a camera at a school taking pictures that might end up in the yearbook you’re actually considered cool by surrounding ten-year-olds. And I also think they were lonely. After spending my two hours in a commercial for home school I decided to move on.
Then later tonight I was doing my job with my youth girls from church. It is my favorite job to be with them. They are the kind of girls you either hope your daughters grow up to be or that you hope your sons choose to marry. But while listening to these girls interact with each other I learned something that should come as no surprise – that despite the fact that these girls are being raised in loving homes with sincere values and commitment to each other, they are not spared from all the crap. In fact, they’re hardly spared from any of it.
My oldest is only months away from Middle School and this reality is completely starting to freak me out. Will she survive with her esteem in tact? Will she be strong when her values are challenged? Will she recover when certain friends turn their back on her? Will she finally start to question my sanity? (Let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time.) I can’t help but ask these questions. I’m hoping for three “yes’s” and one “no”. What do you think of my chances?