I don't really need to write this post. All I have to write is "Junior High Lunchroom" and you can see where I'm going, can't you?
I had the "privilege" of being lunchroom monitor at the junior high today for two lunch periods.
Some observations (some positive, others not so much):
Josh has a great group of friends. His table was chatty, happy, and full. Whew.
Josh is not in elementary school anymore. He not only did not come over and give me a hug, he barely acknowledged me. Sigh. I guess that's how it should be, but it's proves he's growing up.
I am glad that Josh's school has a nice amount of diversity. I loved seeing girls in hijab, hearing Spanish, and watching some kids who are African refugees.
I am sad that there was so little mixing of culture. Well, I should say, there was a decent amount of culture mixing, but it seemed to be almost entirely minority cultures mixing. There were many many tables of 100% white kids. Kind of defeats the purpose of diversity.
Some kids are mean. Some kids like to break rules. Is it group mentality? Is it what we fall to without a really loud conscience?
I have some kickin' mom chops. I was there to monitor, not to observe, and I was all over those kids. I shut down a baby carrot food fight, gave the evil eye to some loudies, smiled at the kids who looked like they needed a little encouragement (and is anything sadder than a kid sitting all alone at lunch? About broke my heart every time I saw it), and stopped a chase. Don't mess with me. I am Lunch Mom.
Someone threw up in the hall. Isn't that just the cherry on top?
Two stories to close my lunchroom saga:
First story: I noticed three boys I've known since kindergarten. They're a little quieter, a little more intellectual (OK, they're a little more nerdy. There. I said it). They sat at a table and ate together, which made me glad. Like I said, nothing sadder than eating alone. And then before I could get a handle on what was going on, this group of obviously way-into-themselves boys joined them at the table. And as I moved closer, I saw what was going on...the three boys were getting kicked off of the table. They quietly got up, shoulders slouched, and I got all in the mean boys' faces. I told them off. It didn't do any good. The three kids left and tried to find another table. One of them just took off and went to eat in the hall. It still makes me sick. I wish I could tell their parents how disappointing their boys' behavior was. (I'd want to know so I could kick some sense into my son.)
Second story: First lunch was a little quieter. There were a few tables empty. One table held only one dark-haired boy who was eating quietly. As I watched him, I decided he must be on the spectrum, but pretty high-functioning. I watched him on and off, and noticed a really tall kid approaching, a handsome blond boy who looked like an eighth grader. He came up to the first boy, smiled and said something, and before I knew it, he sat down and they proceeded to have a long conversation. The blond boy spent more than 5 or 6 minutes sitting with the dark-haired boy, gently teasing him and being about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. It was obvious it wasn't the first time they had hung out. I was so moved by this small but important show of friendship. I wish I could tell their parents how amazing their boys' behavior was.
I get to go back next month. Can't wait.