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High Expectations to Bad Relations
A 6th grader, scared and nervous for his first day at middle school, helplessly navigated his way through the classes, building, and kids. Squirming through the hallways, he frantically looked for his 3rd period class. All through elementary school, he did outstanding on tests, was respectful to everyone, and entered school every day with a smile on his face. Now, 3 years later, he’s smoking behind the building, cussing every other word, and his grades are slipping to rock bottom.
We all know this kid, because we see him every day. He’s the boy in your 4th period English class. He’s the neighbor down the street. He’s the kid whose locker is right next to yours.
And as students grow older, they change for the worst.
I’m getting ready to complete my 3rd year of middle school, and I watch kids that used to be the nicest, most innocent students get involved with bad people, behaviors, and ideas.
And it’s not just me who’s observing it.
4/5 kids at my school say that people change for the worst in between elementary school and the end of middle school.
And as if that’s not enough, only one student in a class of 24 thought that they had changed positively in the last 4 to 5 years.
I know girls who were innocent and sweet, and now they cuss, throw themselves at guys, drink, smoke, and even more. I know boys that were my friends all through elementary school, but now they drink on a weekly basis, and all that they care about is girls.
But what causes this drastic change in behavior? Because all I ever hear is that as you grow older, you should become more mature, not less.
Maybe all of this is because middle school is a constant war. A war against students, a war against teachers, a war against yourself. And most people surrender.
But still, is that an excuse? It may be hard work, but getting through middle school and coming out a better person is possible.
A famous quote by J.C. Watts says, “Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.” And there you go. Middle school in all its glory. Summed up in two sentences.
And Thomas Paine says, “Character is much easier kept than recovered.”
Don’t those quotes pretty much say to stay yourself, don’t change for anyone, and do what’s right? That doesn’t seem so hard.
They also say that we all have good in us. We just need the courage to show it to everyone else. Here’s what I mean:
When I think of young adults, I think of mature, well put-together people who are nearly grown up. When I think of teenagers, I think of out of control, middle school/high school students who don’t care about anything they do. The funny thing is, those two are the same thing. And if we can be put into one of those categories, can’t we be put into the other, too? Because they are, in theory, identical subjects. And if we all worked at it a bit, they could have the same definition, too.