Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Games We Played

In my work with Middle School girls, I am reminded daily of "how things have changed." Just as often, I am also reminded of the many ways I have changed since 7th grade. This may seem obvious: me, now 30, am of course different from me, at 12 years old. And it is obvious. But sometimes, like today, I am surprised.
I am sitting in my 7th grade Health class observing a senior teach a class on peer pressure. The girls are instructed to write down on a instance where they have been pressured to do something they didn't want to do. There are a lot of examples as innocent as "one time my friends made me jump off a really high diving board even though I was afraid", to the more risque like "my friend tried to make me kiss her brother because he liked me, but I didn't like him." Then came one about Truth or Dare. "I hate when we play Truth or Dare because I am afraid my friends will make me do something I don't want to." This got a major reaction from the rest of the class. They all chimed in: "YEAH, what do we do? How do we avoid it?" The teacher and I are both surprised by the reaction. She says "Is this, like, a huge deal for you guys? Is Truth or Dare still super popular?" "OH YES!" say the girls. And then one girl speaks for the class: "Oh My God! When do you STOP playing it?!!?"
Ah, to be an age when the certainties in life are school, friends and Truth or Dare.