Lessons learned from junior high boys

They might be stinky but they sure are sweet!

Spring has sprung which means Spring Break for our kiddos and the annual youth group ski trip. My farmer and I went as sponsors, him driving the van, me running the phone charging dock on the front dash board as phones are passed from the back to the front for brief bursts of power for fear of missing a post or a “like” or “dying” unintentionally in the midst of their favorite game.

This year we drove the van with all junior high boys and our Little, much to her dismay. Originally, my farmer and I thought we drew the short stick. But one can learn a lot from boys ranging in age from 12-14 years. First, keep your trigger finger on the electric window switch. At this age, there is no shame in farting or burping—nothing that a few miles of fresh air can’t exterminate. Second, one better not be easily grossed out by conversations that revolve around that very subject…things like, ‘mine smell worse,’ to ‘I swear it wasn’t me this time!’ Third, the van should be armed with ski trip party favors such as Clorox wipes and deodorant to be given to each passenger as they board. Maybe a toothbrush as well.

When you have junior high boys you repeat questions such as, ‘have you brushed your teeth?’ or ‘when was the last time you showered?’ Whereas, with the high school boys, if you can get your eyes to stop watering, you have tell them to tone down the cologne and to get out of the shower because you’ve got junior high boys quarantined in the hallway, begrudgingly waiting their turn. 

If you’ve never skied or watched someone learn to ski, it’s an amazing process. They begin the morning barely able to stand up straight on sticks about five inches wide and about the length of their height. By lunch they are sure, they ‘can’t do it.’ But something transformational, almost spiritual happens after lunch and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They refasten their boots, click into their skis full of doubt that they’ll ever figure skiing out and suddenly take off! It’s so much fun to watch the transformation.

So after four days with these adolescent boys, I have a few more conclusions. First, they might be stinky but they are sweet. They are not too cool to hang with my farmer and me and they still like to play traveling games such as the guessing game or I spy. When you speak to them, for the most part, they look at you without rolling their eyes. And while they might be smaller than their teen predecessors they are definitely not the short end of the stick. My farmer and me can’t wait for next year, but in the meantime, we’ll be loading up on air freshener.

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