This time of year, we have a large number of boys who are working through some accumulated less-than-optimal habits. They are mistakenly thinking that they are working hard to succeed/hoping not to get in trouble all the while gaining the sober realization that unless they change the habits that are not working for them, they will receive the same disappointing results. It's a tough, existential trip for some!
Middle school at MUS is both a fair and reasonable experience for mission-appropriate boys, and a coordinated, functional small army of support engages them toward the general trend of their own personal success. Each boy has his own journey, his own DNA, his own home life, and his own willingness either to trust the system or to resist the system. It's a process. Change occurs over many moons when years of patterns require adjustment. Timelines for success vary. However, adult patience, wisdom, attention, accountability, and love serve them to discover the better angels of their natures. Even Homework Detention helps. However, blowing off Homework Detention does not. Smartphones can also distract when reading, writing, and 'rithmetic come to call. Therefore priorities and opportunity costs emerge, possibly for the first time for many.
Our guys are figuring out a lot about life right now, and some are especially in the season of trying to reframe and reform. In doing so, they actually enter prep for our Upper School expectations and beyond. It truly is a college-prep mentality that serves our students, and every year at this time we account for the same general breakdown within our enrollment: half the guys are hard-wired for college prep, demonstrating both the ability and the personal responsibility in order to get there; the other half are not there yet. That's ok. This is middle school life. They'll all get there sooner or later.
The above graphic serves both groups as they build their "personal icebergs," their body of work/character/citizenship resulting from the common challenges life presents on a regular basis. Help the boys be mindful of the value of what is unseen that supports that which is seen by the world. Share your personal struggles and challenges from your adolescence, and try to articulate the people and habits that worked to support the success you have today. Encourage the lads. They are sometimes delicate souls, yet clearly capable and maturing boys, all works in progress!