I spent Friday and Saturday with 100 8th graders. Quite a Shabbat.
It was Schechter’s 8th Grade Shabbaton, and the USY regional board was there to help out, plan and lead sessions, and really push USY. The 8th graders didn’t seem to know why we were there, and really, neither did we. We felt sort of out of place.
Some of the 8th graders were cool. Some of them–not so much. Here are a few things I learned about 8th graders after this weekend:
1. No matter how hard people try, nobody is as cool as you are.
2. 8th graders do not appreciate authority. Ever.
3. Social status is everything. Your success in middle school depends on what group of people you sit with in the cafeteria.
4. If an adult tells you to be quiet, keep talking. If they make you move to another seat, roll your eyes at them.
5. Girls may not sit with boys, unless you’re part of the cool clique of 8th graders that participates in mixed seating.
6. If someone says something stupid, make fun of them.
7. Eat as much junk food as possible.
8. When the teachers tell you that bed time is 12:30 a.m., they really mean 4:30 a.m.
9. Singing and praying for Shabbat are NOT cool.
10. You must straighten your hair for Shabbat.
11. If you like someone, do not tell them directly. Tell a friend to talk to them for you.
12. Life is not about having fun. Life is about having fun while still giving off the appearance that you are cool.