Young Adults

     I received a new student in my class today and it became the highlight of the day for the boys in my class.  You see, SHE happens to be a very pretty young girl who was escorted into my classroom by a School Aide and automatically changed my male students’ perspective of the eighth grade, perhaps for the whole year.  Even I was taken aback at the immediate hush that blanketed my room as soon as the door was opened and they spotted her.

    Let me tell you, I have been teaching for almost eleven years and, nothing really surprises me anymore.  However, it was surprising and really cute how all of the boys began to giggle and blush and look around for the nearest person to whisper to.  It was almost as if a celebrity had entered the room.  I started thinking back to my own Middle School crushes and I really don’t remember being that giddy and concerned with romance and dating at that age.

    Of course, the females in the class had a different reaction to her.  They began to look her up and down and turn to whisper questions to one another about who this new girl could possibly be and where did she come from.  It was very obvious that they were not impressed by her and resented that the boys were giving her so much attention.  This was actually very sad to me because I realized that these are catty behaviors that we, as women, often carry into adulthood and that create barriers between us that prohibit us from truly tapping into the sisterhood that is being a woman.

    After class, I proceeded to give her some materials including a combination lock for her locker and some homework papers.  She promptly informed me that she had never used a combination lock and that she would really appreciate it if I could show her how to use one.  All the while, she was extremely polite, humble, and seemingly unaware of all the commotion and attention that she had initiated with her entrance into the class.  It was refreshing to see a young girl behaving like a young girl, for a change.  Unfortunately, in my profession, and with the population of teenagers that I work with, I often see young people trying to grow up too fast and engaging in behaviors that are more appropriate for adults instead of children.

    All of these experiences came full circle for me this evening when I took my older son to get his physical for school.  The doctor could not stop gushing about how tall he is and how he is off the charts in stature.  I, on the other hand, was preoccupied thinking about whether my son will be like most of the children in my class trying to grow up too fast or like my new student who seems to be enjoying being a little girl.  He is already taller than most of the kids in his class and just growing up so fast.  How much of an impact can we, as parents, have on our children when everything around them tells them to stop being children and act like adults?   Even the Kidz Bop CDs contain adult songs being sung by children.  What good is it to have children sing songs on a CD for children if the songs are going to be about dates, break-ups, and violence?

   This connection and reflection between the things that I observe among my students and the lives of my own children happens very often.  As a matter of fact, I can remember one night that I had parent teacher conferences, one of the mothers of my students proceeded to tell me that her son had laid his hands on her and hit her.  I can remember going home that night to my nine month old baby and telling him, as he was bouncing up and down in his crib, that he better not lift a finger to me ever because I’m not the Mommy to try that with.  It’s actually pretty funny now but the sad part is that watching how my students are growing up gives me a clear idea of all of the things that I don’t want my sons to be exposed to.  It is a sad thing that all parents don’t think this way and that so many young people trying to grow up so fast.

    If only they could really see how much it really sucks to be an adult.  Sure, it is great to have freedom, be able to do whatever you want, drive a car, and have some money.  On the flip side, though, it is even more great to not have to pay any bills, not have to worry about anything, have all your necessities and luxuries purchased for you, and just not have any responsibilities.  Remember those days anyone?  These kids don’t know how good they have it living at home with their parents and never having to worry where their next meal is going to come from or what bills are going to get paid this month. 

    We were the same way when we were their age.  I remember telling my mother every single day that I couldn’t wait to turn 18 and move out of my parents’ house.  On my 18th birthday, my mother came into my room and offered to help me pack my bags so I could move into the new apartment that I had been talking about for years.  All I could do was to cry and to tell her that I had nowhere to go and that I didn’t want to leave.  Of course, my Mom had no intention of kicking me out but she was trying to teach me a lesson about appreciating my life and my parents who were letting me live in their house while I attended college with no strings attached.  I suppose every generation has to pay their dues and learn their own lessons the hard way.  Youth is most certainly wasted on the young.

© 2010, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Wow! I am new to your blog, but love you on Twitter (which I am new at too!). You are SO right on about this whole growing up fast thing. My daughter is in 7th grade, my son is a senior. Oh, the cattiness with girls is off the charts, and when I volunteer in the middle school office I am floored at what I see.

    I love that you teach this age group, and that you pay attention to what's going on with them. You seem to have a very good sense of what's happening below the surface.

    Great post, I will tweet it…if I can figure that out!

  2. The youths are so ungrateful aren't they? I was ungrateful as well but in the end, what my parents tirelessly instilled in me paid off. I became a better adult because of them. Kids can be impatient sometimes and I guess all you can do is show them the right path and if they stumble because they didn't heed your advice, just be there for them. 🙂

    I have a feeling your kids will be alright.

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Hi, Sherri. You are so nice! Thank you for your kind words. I love teaching this age group because I feel like they are still young enough where I can have a positive impact on them and maybe point them in the right direction. I can tell that you are realling enjoying Twitter just like I am. Believe it or not, I hated it at first but now, it has really grown on me. Thank you so much for commenting and following, I really appreciate it.

  4. Funkkeejooce, they really are ungrateful at that age. I think it has everything to do with the self-centeredness of youth and thinking that they are invincible. It is really important to be patient with them because they all realize what life is really about as they grow and mature. Have a wonderful weekend! I'm sure the weather in Spain is really beautiful right now…


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  3. Maria says:

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