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You guys, I can’t believe my oldest is going in to middle school this year (sniff sniff). It seriously feels like over the summer he’s grown up before my eyes. Clothes have started to matter. Hair has started to matter. And above all, ensuring that he’s got everything he needs for a stress free school year has really started to matter.
Since I know he’s a little nervous about his first day of middle school (although he would NEVER admit it) I’ve been working on ways to build his confidence and teach him to be who he is, not worry about what anybody else thinks and learn that when mistakes happen, you simple make the best out of them…or sometimes you just erase them away. But I’ve needed to find creative ways to teach these lessons. You see, in typical almost teen fashion, he thinks my advice is outdated. And I totally get that because I thought the exact same thing about my mom when I was going into middle school. BUT, each year my mom would come up with a first day of school survival kit that would help me make it through any and every issue that might arise. While I might not like her advice, I LOVED those kits packed full of fun items that I would need to make school successful. Inspired by my own memories, I headed to Target to put together a Middle School Survival Kit for my son that would help him erase the stress of a new chapter in his school life.
As I walked down the aisles at Target trying to think of what items would fit perfectly into my kit, I starting thinking about the lessons I wanted him to learn as a middle schooler. I wanted to teach him that he should always be responsible. Always block out the negative words that other say. Always have a fresh start to every situation. And above all, always learn that many mistakes can be erased and every day is a new start. I wasn’t quite sure how to express all these things in one easy kit but as soon as my eyes landed on the FriXion Erasable Pens located in the school supplies, an idea started to come together in my head.
You see, these erasable pens inspired me to teach through metaphors (aren’t you impressed that I’m already speaking school lingo?). Because as soon as my eyes landed on them, I thought man, if only I could make it that easy for him to erase mistakes and stress in life. And right then and there, a survival box idea came together in my head that would allow me to pass on all my advice without ever letting him know that I was teaching him about real life. Excited about my idea and inspired by the creative way I could teach my middle schooler some very important back to school lessons, I added essentials to my cart and headed home to turn them all into a first day of school gift that was going to be packed full of hard learned lessons from his mama!
I started out with an oversized pencil box but since I know pencil boxes are so elementary school (said in my son’s mocking pre-teen voice) I had to do something to make it uber cool!
I quickly came up with a simple enough fix and covered the pencil box with decorative tape, turning it into a middle school cool supply box.
Next, it was time to start adding my well thought out items to the inside of my box. I started with a planner to teach him to be responsible and always reliable. It was my way of showing him that when he agrees to do something, he should follow through. He can easily add dates, assignments and activities to the pages. Then every day he will be able to check his planner and ensure that he is meeting his commitments and becoming a person who does what he says and delivers what he promises.
Satisfied with my first lesson, I moved on to headphones. I know this may sounds like a silly addition to some but to me it was the perfect way to teach him to block out negativity and not listen to what other people say sometimes. I’ll be the first to admit that middle schoolers can be mean and instead of putting value in hurtful words, I want him to have a way to block out the world and remember who he is in moments when words get a little mean. And while I know that sometimes he will literally be able to block out words with his headphones and sometimes he won’t, having them close by is a perfect reminder that he always has the power to not listen to negative words.
Next, gum was added to my kit. I know, I know – you’re thinking why gum? Well it was my silly little way to say get a fresh start to every day! Plus knowing that girls are going to be coming into the equation this year, I figured a little fresh breath wouldn’t hurt the situation either! Enough said, right?
Finally, it was time for the one item that would truly complete my kit and teach the biggest middle school lesson on my list. I pulled out my newly purchased FriXion Erasable Pens and gave them a long hard look. I thought about my own middle school experiences and how there were moments I wanted to erase. And then I placed those FriXion Erasable Pens into his kit so that he could erase mistakes on paper and remember that in middle school, the chance to erase stress and have do-overs is great.
I wanted to use these pens as a reminder that when he messes up – and he will – he can simple erase away the stress of those mistakes on paper and start over.
And while it’s not always that easy in life, it was a great way to teach him that mistake happen but there is always the opportunity to turn your mistakes into something amazing! Plus, as middle school starts and there are new responsibilities and new roles for him to juggle, it gives him the perfect tool to stay organized, stay up to date and stay stress free as he learns to deal with the daily changes that are bound to happen.
As I closed my newly created Middle School Survival Kit, I thought I had done a pretty good job. I had found a way to tell him the things I wanted him to know going into middle school. And I had also found a way to give him a kit of essentials that would help make his transition easier while allowing him to erase some of the stress of his middle school years.
I can just envision him sitting in class, taking notes, doodling and even passing notes to friends. I know from my own experience that as he does those things, he will make mistakes. But now, I’ve given him a way to erase the stress of mistakes and give himself a clean slate any time he wants it.
And while that’s a very real benefit for any middle schooler, it’s also the most important life lesson I can teach him right now.
This lesson in itself would have made me feel like I was doing something amazing by teaching my middle schooler something important. But even better, my purchase of Pilot’s FriXion Clicker erasable gel ink pens helped Pilot support & fund STOMP Out Bullying programs to ‘erase’ negative bullying behaviors and ‘rewrite’ positive, productive solutions. And to me, that’s a super big deal! In fact, it’s such a big deal that I want to challenge each and every one of you to help STOMP Out Bullying simply by purchasing FriXion Clicker erasable pens for yourself or your child. How will that help you ask? Well it’s simple! Pilot will be making a minimum of a $125,000 donation to STOMP Out Bullying over the course of 2015 and 2016. And if their annual sales goals are exceeded, additional funds will be donated. Pretty cool right?
So join with me in teaching your children life’s lessons in a fun and creative way. I found that by creating a Middle School Survival Kit, I was able to share important lessons with my son in a way that he could really understand. I was able to teach him to erase mistakes. Erase stress. And above all, I was able to help erase bullying by including FriXion Clicker erasable pens in my very fun project!
Do you want to make a Middle School (or Elementary School or High School) Survival Kit to teach your child important back to school lessons? Start by making FriXion Clicker pens an essential part of your kit! From August 23rd to August 29th, you can get 20% off FriXion Clicker pens in either the Assorted 3 Pack or all black 3 pack at Target! So what are you waiting for? Start the school year off the right way by giving your child everyday items that they need while teaching them lessons in a way they can really understand.
Tell me, what items would you put into a survival kit to help your child erase stress and start each school day new?