To start, the “truths” that were identified are 100% correct. I also giggled because I have repeated several of these phrases to my students, to no avail. I think out of all the truths in this article, I say #8 the most: “Technology makes it easier than ever to ruin relationships and reputations.”
As fantastic as the article is, I think there are a few truths that are missing. I brainstormed seven (more) “truths” that I want my middle school students to know.
- A Facebook (or Instagram/Twitter/Kik) photo lasts forever. You may think you deleted that embarrassing photo of you in a revealing tank top, but since you posted it, it is forever in cyberspace. And the scary thing is that someday, an employer may be able to pull it up. Think twice before you post. I always say that if you wouldn’t want your grandparents seeing it, don’t post it.
- What you say can come back to bite you. Some of my students swear fluently, while others do it just to fit in with the rest of the crowd. However, swearing gives your language a nasty flare. You may think it is cool now, but it’s not as cool when you are an adult (especially if you do it in front of your boss.) Swearing is a bad habit, and you never know when you might slip. In addition, people are going to remember you as someone with a potty-mouth, which may not bode well for you.
- You (and your friends) are going to change (and this is not necessarily a bad thing). Last year, a lot of my students began our conversations with “This person I was best friends with last year is no longer friends with me …” It hurts when you and your friends drift apart, but it happens to all of us. As we get older, our ideas and visions and dreams change. Sometimes, we mature faster than our friends, or find ourselves believing in different things. That’s okay. It’s normal. In fact, sometimes you change so you can meet those friends you will stay with for years and years to come.
- You cannot put a price tag on friendship. Please do not feel that the only way you can be friends with someone is if you buy them things. Buying presents and sharing experiences is nice, but don’t feel like this is the only way you can make and keep a friend.
- Not everyone is doing it. You can fill in “it” with whatever you want: cheating on tests, dating, doing drugs, or having sex. Not everyone in the school is doing it. In fact, a good majority of the middle school population is not doing it. Don’t listen to those people who scoff at you and say, “Well, everyone is doing it.” Chances are, “everyone” is a very small, select group of people.
- You become like the five people you spend the most time with. I read this somewhere, and have shared this comment with several of my students. There is a study that you embody the personality traits of the five people you spend the most time with. I have changed it up a little and asked my students to think strictly of the five friends they spend the most time with. Are they okay with being like them? If the answer is no, you may want to re-evaluate your friendships.
- Your teachers remember exactly what middle school was like.It’s funny, because so many of my students tell me that their teachers “don’t understand what it’s like to be in middle school today.” And here’s the thing, we don’t know what it’s like. You’re right. We grew up without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Most of us didn’t have Internet, or if we did, we got kicked off if someone had to make a phone call. But all the drama and all the chaos and all the hormones? Oh, we remember those days vividly. Don’t worry. We may be older, but we do know what you’re going through.
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