Here in Wisconsin, fall is in the air. The leaves are starting to change colors and the temperature has dropped. My sweaters are making a reappearance and my shorts are ready to be packed away. For you students, you have been back in school for a while now, but that came with inevitable changes. Some changes in life we look forward to with great anticipation. Birthdays, holidays, snow days and vacations are some of the days I remember looking most forward to as a student as well as now as an adult.
But not all changes come with happy excitement. Some changes are much harder to know how to handle. Maybe you moved to a new town, a new state, a new school and you’re wondering if you will make new friends easily. You’re wondering if your old friends will keep in touch or just move on without you. Sometimes friendships fall apart over the summer and you feel alone, not ready to start school again. Maybe you were looking forward to a certain teacher everyone told you was amazing, but she retired and now you’re not sure if the replacement will be as good. If you were dating someone but that didn’t work out, perhaps the change of being single is making you sad and feeling lonely.
My hardest season of change as a student was in the middle of my 6th grade year. My parents moved us from the suburbs of Chicago to a small town in Wisconsin. I went from being friends with everyone and being involved in many things in a public school, to going to a small Catholic school where I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know until I started school that some people in northern Wisconsin, at the time at least, didn’t like people from Illinois. I was bullied and left out of things and felt very much alone most of the time. Middle school was a hard few years for me. I didn’t feel courageous and I wish now I had chosen more positive steps to make friends and get involved. I finally found my place in band when I got to high school and made many great friends.
There are so many changes that can be difficult to wade through, yet you can make choices to step into them with courage! What would it look like to see a difficult change, such as a new school, with the excitement you have at opening an unknown present? You don’t yet know what is inside, but you bet it will be good! The chance to meet new people, join new clubs or teams, and try things you never did before might be so much more positive than you are expecting. Find even one person you can connect with and spend time with. Find a trusted adult who can listen and help you discover more of who you truly are and help you dig deep to find that courage you didn’t know you had. I know I try to be that kind of adult for young people in my life.
What changes are you currently experiencing? I hope you can find the courage to step into them and learn from them. You may be the person to make a difference in someone else’s life in their new season of change! You can come alongside someone who is lonely and needing a friend.
CHOOSE COURAGE! CHOOSE KINDNESS! YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
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