Remember how awesome middle school was? It was a strange combination of awkward and playful. There were those times when being goofy with friends was everything I looked forward to. And then there were those times when I didn’t feel like I fit anywhere and I felt mostly awkward.
There is a playful goofiness that comes with being 13. And it is awesome and weird all at the same time. In my ministry with middle schoolers, I see this all the time. The outside world looks at them and shakes their heads wondering what in the world is going through their heads. We adults often look at what they do and label it as dumb or stupid. And we are wrong.
Just the other day I was visiting the home of one of my students, and she and her friend had decided to make a slip and slide on her hill with a tarp and a snow sled. It sounds like great fun, except that it was 40 degrees outside. And windy. And they didn’t have shoes on. It was so easy to label their efforts as “dumb” or “stupid.” But you know what? They were having fun. They were being creative. Their attempt wasn’t as successful as they would have liked. But it was good. It was that awesome combination of awkward and playful.
Rebecca Black is one of those awesomely awkward and playful 13 year olds. She just happened to record a song and video (find it here if you have been living in a cave) that was equally awesomely awkward that has become an internet and iTunes hit. The songs’ lyrics and video have been judged as dumb and stupid. And because of her success the teen, whose parents paid $2000 to the record company to record the song, is also being judged as dumb and stupid.
I love Rebecca Black and Friday because she epitomizes life as an eighth grader. I prefer to celebrate the awkward and playful nature of 13 year old awesomeness. I want to see more “successes” and “failures” like Rebecca Black and my young friends.
Because me and my young friends, well, “we, we, we so excited!”
And it is pure awesomeness when that strange combination of awkward and playful come together in a middle school student in various creative ways.