I've been reading about all of the beginning-of-the year activities on the teacher blogs that I frequent. People are getting ready for the new year, setting up classrooms and meeting new crops of students. Everyone seems ready to start a whole new adventure. Its scary and exciting, for teachers as well as for students. Nobody knows what the future holds. Will the class be a difficult one or a hard one? Will they be a challenge to control? Will they shine academically? How much parental support can I count on?
For the kids, it's about getting along with the teacher. Will he/she be nice or mean? Will I make new friends? Will I fit in? I'd guess these are the same questions being asked by teachers going in to new schools. We don't change very much as we age.
I was reminded again this weekend of how far some of us haven't come. I went on a weekend trip with some girlfriends. One of the girls decided she was going to harass me all weekend. She often targets me in front of others, but is the nicest, friendliest person when we are alone together. When she starts in, my tactic has always been to play along. However, when I throw back the "jokes," she claims I'm picking on her and our other friends tell us to stop fighting.
So, this time, I tried a different approach. I let her go on and on and said nothing when she called me "Grandma" for wearing flats instead of heels and brought up stuff that happened months ago. For instance, I missed her birthday in February because I had concert tickets for the same date. One of the girls we were with is getting married next year. She commented that I probably wouldn't go to the wedding because I'd be at a concert featuring this band. Crazy stuff, right? Out of nowhere! And it went on for three days.
By the end of the third day, I told her to knock it off. She laughed, said she didn't know what I was talking about, then has been making comments on Facebook about the drama I caused.
Textbook adolescent relational aggression, right? The type of behavior that peaks when girls are in junior high school. Sadly, we are all approaching the same side of the street as 40, not 14.
Once again I was reminded of why I prefer to be surrounded by people under the age of 10. They may drive each other nuts and tattle, but at least they can be shamed out of it for a while.