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Big Eyes for a New World

by Casey White
October 3, 2002

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Big Eyes for a New World_Casey White- We don't remember our entrances into this world, but we understand from doctors that it can be a most traumatic moment for any baby. Yet, I would say an even more traumatic time in life might be the transition from grade school to middle school or Jr. High.

Much has been made of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades as being turbulent, with many articles and shows highlighting the stresses of hormonal activity and the social aspects of rapid growth at that age. But I think it is much more than that. It's changing from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. Changing from dependence to independence. Changing from assumptions and parental precepts to formation of personal opinion and spiritual demeanor.

This 7th grade girl was small for her age, and could easily have been confused with students two or three years younger. Her eyes were wide as she spoke quite softly, answering a question I have asked many new Jr. High students in the Fall: "So how would you rate your experience so far in Jr. High, on a scale of 1 to 10?" She didn't look down, but looked into my eyes, wondering, I think, if I could possibly understand what she was going through. "I'd say a five," she said. It's a careful number, a safe one.

When you step into Jr. High from the confident grade school world, your mind, body, and soul are confronted with concepts and ideas you might rather not confront so soon. But there you are - it's happening around you. It's sometimes thrilling, sometimes sad, sometimes scary, and sometimes puzzling. Your eyes are opened wide, as you go from week to week. Month to month. Being like sand in the vortex of an hour glass, you wonder how it will all turn out. And it goes by so fast. It's good to be careful.

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Big Eyes for a New World
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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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