Bless Your Heart…

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cc photo by J. Delp

I’m a junior high school principal.

This comment is typically met with a grimace and one of a few predictable responses that can be summarized by the statement, “Oh, bless your heart.”

Junior high is the age of hormones, uncontrolled laughter, and eye rolls. It can be a challenging age, but name one that isn’t. Junior high kids can do incredibly dumb things (often on purpose), but so can adults. There is plenty of evidence of that in the news and on your Twitter feed.

I have spent nearly twenty years working exclusively with adolescents. I credit them with my calm demeanor, charming personality, and quick wit (as well as sarcasm) — all necessities for surviving in the junior high world. They may also be responsible for a few extra pounds and some gray hairs, but that just comes with the territory.

Truth be told, some of the adults I’ve had to deal with are much more challenging than the kids. I’ve always believed kids have an excuse for behaviors that don’t quite measure up to expectations for civil, or appropriate discourse. They are young, still learning and often lack the experience (or modeling) to know better. Adults…not so much.

I honestly count it an honor to work with young people. In fact, when my time as a principal is over — whether in three days or twenty years — I’m a little worried about the prospect of interacting solely with adults. I’m not sure I’ll have the necessary temperament, patience, and tolerance.

When people tell me about their job where they work exclusively with adults, I often think, “Oh, bless your heart.”

When the time comes, Heaven help me.