Every other week, I carpool a few middle schoolers. I don’t turn on the radio, which encourages them to talk with each other — and me. It is some of the most precious time I have with my seventh-grader. No surprise the first topic of conversation was the benefits of wearing a mask. What I thought was going to be a boring convo with kiddos regurgitating the PSAs we’ve heard for months turned into a hilarious pro-mask discussion. What I heard that day reassured me that our kids growing up during a pandemic are still gonna be alright.
The Merits of Wearing a Face Mask
Mouth Guard: Most of us can remember the stress we felt after getting braces. Is food stuck in my teeth? Are the kids going to call me brace face or metal mouth? Well, bullies can’t make fun of what they don’t see. Mom packed you tuna fish for lunch, no sweat. Mask up, and death-breath disappears!
Breakout Hideout: Raging hormones, body awkwardness, and pimples popping are the only normal things about a middle schooler. Last year, preteens were “camouflaging” zits with gobs of concealer. This fall, pandemic pre-teens don’t have a worry in the world about an oil spill. Just throw a mask over it and go.
Covert Crushes: Nothing is worse than being caught staring at your crush. Despite a tween’s best effort, their bodies betray them as heat floods their cheeks, turning them into a tomato. Rumors are flying about who they like before the blush even recedes. Enter the mask. It not only prevents COVID-19, it saves blooming love lives.
Express Yourself: It’s not all about covering up — it’s about putting a little bit of who you are inside… on the outside. Some are mixing and matching, trying to find the mask that looks the best with their outfit. Others support their favorite team by strapping on a sponsored mask. Schools are increasing school spirit by letting students create a mask for a fundraiser. And the best part, teachers and administrators are having fun with their mask selection, too, showing we really are in this together.
Cultivating Creativity: Middle school years are some of the best for fostering creativity and ingenuity. A couple carpool kids have glasses, and fogging up is a real issue. Just a quick discussion on how surgeons wearing all kinds of gear never have cloudy glasses led to a Google search. The next day, news was spreading about the shaving cream hack (look it up, it works). Friendship bracelets are out, but mask necklaces are in. My carpool crew might open up a pop-up shop if you are interested.
Everyone wishes this pandemic was over. It is hard to imagine growing up with so many social-distancing protocols. There is much to worry about in this world, but a simple ride to middle school did this mom some good. Our kids are still learning the most important life lesson — whatever life throws at you make the best of it!