Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lessons learned from middle school students

Well, it's almost over!

Not the world or the Lions Super Bowl jinx.

No, the Novi Middle School 8th grade Washington DC trip is almost over.

We left the Novi Middle School parking lot last Wednesday night on seven buses. It's now late Saturday night (or is it early Sunday morning) and the seven buses are headed back. We have six hours - more or less - to go.

In the last 72 plus hours we've seen national monuments, museums, and statues. We've seen places and scenes from history that broke our nation's heart. We've seen how men and women sacrificed for others and for something bigger than themselves.

We've also seen middle school drama. To middle school students the drama was real. There were real tears and real emotion.

To the adults, who years ago lived through middle school, the drama did not approach the drama that adult life has to offer. But the adults recognized that our job was to offer counsel and help these young people live through the drama so that they could look back one day and laugh at middle school drama.

What did I learn on this trip?

I learned lessons that I already knew.

I learned once again that Novi Middle School has an incredible staff and the city of Novi has an incredible police chief.

I learned that the world is full of adults that care about kids.

I learned that Novi Middle School has some amazing kids. They were polite and respectful.  They laughed. They (occasionally) said please and thank you. They listened - most of the time.

Yes, these middle school students had their faults. They never could walk on the right side of the sidewalk. However wide the sidewalk was they would fill the whole space. Their hotel rooms after twelve hours looked like a clothes bomb had gone off. They occasionally had a hard time focusing in museums. They griped - just a little - about walking over seven miles on day one and five miles on day two.

But these middle school students from Novi made me proud. They learned a little history. They learned a little about themselves.

Not a bad way to spend three days.

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