This afternoon, my third child, second son, will be celebrating his 8th grade graduation.

A milestone, for sure.  One I must be intentional to celebrate with him and for him.

This is our third 8th grade graduation.  Our son is a true middle child. 

Middle of the family.  
Middle of three boys.  
Did I say Middle?

Middle phrases come to mind.

Caught in the middle
Stuck in the middle
Middle of the road

All of them are rather non-momentous, non-celebratory, some definitely not desirous.

Malcome in the Middle.  Poor guy.

I’m a firm believer in paying attention to the significance of birth order.  Not to accentuate it, but to put it in perspective.

For some people, birth order can define them.  Firstborns get all the whoopla and tend to be leaders in industry and world.

Last borns tend to be the social ones, often the outgoing- achievers in the world’s economy.  They can also be the “babies.”  Whatever that means.

Middle children are often peace-makers, don’t like conflict, learn to get along well with other, and excel at interpersonal relations.  They learn early get along with others on both ends. Their whole life can be sandwiched in between others.  Many wonder if they are someone, wondering if others notice the in-betweeners.

Of course, all families are different and birth order studies are merely generalizations about behavior and personality development.  And just as each family is different, children are, too.  While each of my four children have qualities of their birth order, we’ve tried to encourage the individual bents of each child as much as we can.

Or as much as we remember to.  I have to admit, by child three, 8th grade graduation isn’t as momentous as the first two.  No dresses to buy.  No gushing over the first son who is becoming a man.

Yet, as I looked at my quiet middler getting dressed up in his dad’s tie and older brother’s pants, I realized the significance of this middler becoming a man is even more noteworthy.

Noteworthy of the character of this quiet and patient one.  He is not one to say much, let alone much about himself, accomplishments, or challenges.   He’s like his dad in many ways, not saying much, but when he does, it makes you sit up and take notice.

Today, he’ll be glad to get the tie off.

He won’t want a hug, let alone a kiss.

But when he flashes his smile at his mom behind the camera,  I’ll know he received the big-dealness in a quiet sort of way.  And like all mother’s, I’ll ponder his smile in my heart. (Luke 2:19).

We’ll celebrate today.  I’ll take lot of pictures he won’t want taken and I’ll put a note under his bed telling him how proud we are of him, noting the qualities about him so different from the others, hopefully making the middle something that is neither bothersome or despised.

Besides, he’s joined with these other middler’s:

Bill Gates
Donald Trump
Barbara Walters

Not bad.  I delight in the Lord’s plans for him, and pledge to help him find the way he should go. (Prov 22:6).

  So hopefully, he won’t feels stuck in the middle.

 When I was a boy at my father’s knee, the pride and joy of my mother, He would sit me down and drill me: “Take this to heart. Do what I tell you – live! 

Proverbs 4:3-4

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