My 8th grader graduated was promoted from 8th grade this past Thursday. One part of the graduation promotion ceremony was the reading of "Faith Statements" by the 8th graders. All 54 of them.
Backing up: Each year our school has a "theme". Some of the ones that I can remember are "a little yeast leavens the whole batch", "I am the gate", "living water", "gifts, 5, 2, 1", "and God said it was good", "rooted and grounded in love". This year the theme was gratitude: Let your hearts overflow with joy and gratitude for all that He has done. Each year the 8th graders write "faith statements" based on the theme. I have seen them for years in the yearbook. They are given 3 different ways that they can start their statement, and then they complete it.
A few weeks ago, 8th grader came to me and said, "Mom, my faith statement is due tomorrow. (of course) I know what I want to say. I want to talk about my friends, but I don't know how to say it. Can you help me?" Backing up a little bit more, he has been with these kids since his second try in first grade. He has also been on ADHD meds since first grade. Always a fairly quiet kid, the meds made him even quieter. He always seemed to be accepted by the other kids (this class was good that way),. but never had a lot of interaction with most of them. Last year I watched him at an awards banquet, sitting with a group of his friends, and he never said a word. "Mom, I'd rather not say anything than look stupid like xxxxx by saying the wrong thing."
What is a parent to do? This year, he discovered that life was much more fun if he didn't take his medication. He had friends!! I got a call from the counselor, "8th grader is different this year. And not necessarily in a good way." He was also not doing so hot in many of his classes - unable to remember what was for homework or concentrate long enough to get his work done. We finally compromised on half of his dose. As his doctor said a few years back, "The cooperation of the patient is essential in these things." This child - who has had nothing but straight A's in conduct for the past 7 years - ended up in Saturday detention one morning because he lost so many conduct points!! My quiet child!
So we sat down to write a Faith Statement. The starter that we picked was "God has blessed me with many gifts. I will show my gratitude by...." He has friends, and as fate would have it, most of them are following the path to our local Catholic High school, and he is not. So now that he has friends he will have to start again next year.
This is what we came up with : God has blessed me with many gifts; I will show my gratitude by being thankful for the friends that I’ve made at *** who have made a difference in my life. Even though they won’t be part of my daily life next year, they will always be in my heart.
"They clapped for me at practice when I read my faith statement, Mom. And I was the only one." Little brother came home with the news that 8th grader's faith statement had made Mrs. MathTeacher cry. Their principal said he could tell that it came from the heart. His classmates high-fived him. His social studies teacher said the math teacher had "warned her". It was good.
Here he is with some of his classmates after the ceremony. My 8th grader has a white tie. (His choice). In the one with the car in the background, he is saying something to his friends. Love their facial expressions! And yes...that is a g-i-r-l standing next to him.....
I'm the wife of one ancient man and the mom of two teen beings with Y chromosomes.
I teach middle school special ed, and I'm slightly "touched".
I've always been Catholic, but in recent years my faith has become much more important in my life. Now I'm a "Happy Catholic."