Are you in 8th grade?

So I thought I’d share a few tour stories that I may have hinted to already, but haven’t taken the time to truly narrate. I know, I know, it’s really not as cool to tell these stories after the fact, but now that we’re home, I actually have a bit more time to blog, so I’m going to.

One night while we were in Florida, we led worship and played a short set for a youth group in the Fort Myers area. Leading worship for teenagers can be interesting. Sometimes teens are really into singing and sometimes, they’re just waayyyy too cool for the whole thing. We weren’t sure what to expect but were happy to be there nonetheless and meet the kids.

Never in my life have I been so intimidated by a bunch of high schoolers. Seriously. I don’t know if I was having an off night or just experiencing an extremely high does of insecurity, but I was scared. The kids looked so old. And so cool. I wasn’t really a cool kid in high school. What I mean by that is that I was the drum major of my high school marching band. Yes, I said it. I was the head nerd. Still, I thought I was passed a lot of the inadequacy and insecurities I felt in high school. I mean, I’m an adult now, married even. (For some reason I equate married with being more of a “real” person. Which totally isn’t true.) But apparently, the kids that appear “cool” still freak me out.

After mingling with the high school kids I found myself feeling pretty nauseous (again, insecurity). I retreated to the middle school room. I sat near a group of girls and tried to talk a little. It was then that one of the girls leaned over, told me she was in 8th grade and asked, “Are you in 8th grade too?” I tried not to look appalled and said, no. She then asked, “Oh, so are you in 9th?” Now, I understand that I was in the middle school room, so she could very easily have thought that everyone there was in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, but think about it…I’m at least 10 years older than this girl. How could she seriously have thought that we were the same age?
My self-esteem at an all time low, Tyler and I climbed the stage to lead some worship and play our songs. To my delight…some of the kids actually knew our songs…they even sang along with “Nashville”! By the end of the night I felt pretty good…I’d even forgotten about the 8th grade incident. (Not for long, clearly.)

Thinking about the whole night makes me feel pretty pathetic. That I would place my self worth in the hands of a bunch of teenagers is pretty ridiculous. How many songs have I written about this sort of thing? Yet, I still find myself concerned about what other people think. It takes time I guess. Just when I think I’m grown up I find that I still have so very much to learn.

More stories to come.


3 responses

  1. I know just what you mean. I was a leader for one of the high school small groups at my church last year and felt so intimidated by the high schoolers. No one asked me if I was in 8th grade, but having a beard helps that. Regardless, hopefully I’ll grow up someday too.

  2. i think that the insecure adolescent lives in all of us somewhere…in some, perhaps closer to home than others…from experience i say that. nonetheless, i have to say this short blog entry was a great read!

  3. “cool kids” will always be just that, and we “dorks” will always feel that way to a degree. I’ve learned that with much practice and a healthy dose of detachment you can learn to just not care. 😉

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