Today my 100 sixth graders learned more from the counselor about something exciting that is coming up in their lives! Seventh grade enrollment! I am so thrilled for them as they look with anticipation at the change, but my heart sympathizes with the looks of fear.
As the counselor passed out sample packets with classes, I could see their faces become serious. My normally chatty kids became silent as she began to talk. Slowly, hands went up around the room to ask questions. Some of the questions were "obvious" like, "Will we get lunch?" But even those questions revealed just how much their lives are being rocked right now.
Other questions revealed deep insecurities. Will I see my friends? What happens if I'm tardy? What if my teachers are mean?
Our reassuring and understanding answers did little to assuage the fears hidden behind their placid, sixth-grade masks. Even my brave, confident kids were wondering what was going to happen to them in a few short months.
Of course, I know the end of the story. They're going to be fine. They will love 7th grade and the junior high, and many of them will come back to tell me how wonderful it is.
But, right now, all I can do is tell them what I know to be true.
You'll be fine.
You are strong.
It will all work out.
And, in a few years, I know they'll come back, too, and tell me I was right.