#554 – Junior High is the Worst

My junior high.

My junior high.

Junior high was the worst.

Since last June I have been more involved with the junior high ministry at our church. For my first five years as a youth pastor I was directly involved with high school and oversaw junior high. For the past 10 months I have been directly involved with junior high as well as with high school.

At first I was a little intimidated working with junior high students. It had been a long time since I’d worked with junior highers and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to connect with them. I’m glad to say that I’ve enjoyed my time with the junior high students and that I look forward to spending time with them every week.

I love our junior high students but junior high was and still is the worst.

For me, junior high was nothing but getting bullied and made fun of. In 2013 it’s cool and acceptable to be a nerd. Nerd culture has gone mainstream and everyone is looking forward to Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness and the season premiere of Game of Thrones. But from 1992-1995 nerd culture was still a subculture and being a nerd still earned the ire of the cool and popular kids.

As I was sharing with our junior high students last night, I encouraged them that life isn’t like it is in junior high. Junior high is full of bullies and being forced into different social strata. Life is more about finding the people with whom we connect and building lasting relationships with them. I haven’t been bullied since the 8th grade but I have found some amazing friends who appreciate me, hold me accountable and want what is best for me.

When I was getting mocked in junior high for my nerdiness I thought that things would never change. I thought that I would never have friends who accepted my love of Star Wars and my encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Thankfully, though, junior high doesn’t last forever and we all have the opportunity to form authentic relationships with people who accept us for who we are.

Junior high was the worst but life now is much, much better.

How was your junior high experience?

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