How do you live the Gospel with seventh graders? Well... I have no idea but here I am learning anew each day. First I want to say that I love my kids with all my heart. I am so grateful to God for each and every one of them. I'm grateful for the quiet ones, the loud ones, the obnoxious ones, the intelligent ones, the struggling ones... and the ones that drive me insane.
Needless to say.... when you have all those special "ones" in your life, you are in for a surprise around every corner! I can't believe sometimes how much of my life I spend as a relationship counselor. Yes, I am a science teacher but the back of my classroom doubles as a romance advice booth. I don't know what it is about me but something says, tell me your boy and girl troubles!
It is really humbling for me to have my boys and girls confide in me and ask me for advice and acceptance as they try to navigate these difficult years. Recently there has been an influx of these problems. It continues to amaze me that they come in and want to talk to me about boyfriends, girlfriends, parent problems, and a whole host of other issues. One such incident really touched me recently. One of my boys, who is quite a ladies man, came to talk to me yesterday. You would think that a seventh grade boy wouldn't want love advice from his nun science teacher but... think again. The touching thing about it is that as I watch them grow I see all the characteristics of responsible, loving, and holy men and women. They want to do the right thing, but they don't know what it is. The boys want to be gentlemen. The girls want to be beautiful but not in the way the world tells them they should be.
What I have realized is that I'm in a unique position as a religious woman to guide them. They really see me as their sister and because of that they feel able to interact with me in a way that is different than their parents, other teachers, and other students. Practically speaking, the boys carry things for me whenever they can, run errands for me, ask me to come to their sports events, and open doors like it's their job. They actually notice when I get my hair cut out the front of my veil (I know... I can't believe it either). They feel like they can because I'm their sister. It's the same reason they feel like they can tell me all their girl, family, relationship, and sports problems.
The girls see how they treat me and they realize that they should always be treated with the same respect and with charity. They come to me and ask me millions of questions about all the same things because they know I'll hold all their tough tween stuff in my heart. And they are right... I do!
I'm always tempted (without ever giving in) to pray out loud during lauds and vespers at our intercessions, "for Gina's broken heart," or "for Tommy's mom and dad," or "for Brandon's breakup." Instead, I hold them in my heart like God intended me to do and I offer my acts of charity and counseling for them.
Basically... it is tough being in seventh grade. I love them though... my little brothers and sisters, and I'll do anything to help them and guide them to be their best, holiest, truest selves. God help me... it certainly gets confusing!
Please pray for all our kids!