Eleven years old, graduating from 6th grade, shedding the “elementary school” mentality, and raring to enter seventh grade and into the intermediate league. What goes through the mind of an 11-year old youth about school and the future?
I am willing to bet most of such 11-year old thinking resembles a pail of benign, tangled and disorganized notions. Superfluous thoughts skewed by feelings, fairy tales, wild crushes, hazy ideas, exorbitant wishes, daydreams, strange desires, unachievable ambitions, unsteady emotions, hurts worse than death, diabolical ideas of revenge, mischief, puppy love, infatuation, nocturnal secrets… murky, opaque thoughts that seem like a multitude of narrow paths resembling ribbons etched on the grass where goats walk and graze, where kids run, cavort and play… just a sandbox.
The verdant landscape mind of an active 11-year old holds a world of promise. Parents must recognize, accept, and learn to help their child put order to such a youthful mind. Needed are patience, tolerance, love, fairness, firmness, and an even-handed hold on the reins. In time the youthful mind begins to put things in order, first separating the open fields from the hedges, demarcating the hills from the mountains, grouping the rocks from the sand dunes and partitioning the nice, approachable, gentle and kind adults from the wicked, uncaring ones. Order gradually emerges. Finally and hopefully, chaos becomes unpredictable calm.
The secret to a desired outcome is collaboration between parent and child based on mutual respect, driven by mutual trust that parent and child walk in the same direction, and going for the same goal.
I know. Easier said than done. Don’t just talk about it; work on it.