Sorry. Being the NEW kid can really rot.
Being the “new kid,” even when you are an adult, is very hard. Confusing might even be a more accurate description of the situation. And, when you are the new kid, over, and over, and over again, it can be very difficult to figure out what to attribute to “being new” or “being a kid” or just “being.”
It can kill your love for _____________.
When you are the new kid, you may have enjoyed a sport or other activity at your previous duty station. So much so that you played it without thinking what the future held. Then you move. And you have to try out for a new team or group. Guess what? That new team or group isn’t as welcoming as you had hoped. Actually, it hadn’t even crossed your mind that the thing you LOVED would become a problem. But it has. Because, you see, when you tried out for the new team, they essentially told you: You aren’t good enough to play with us. WHAT???!!??
I was awesome at my last duty station. I played awesome. I was a team player. The whole enchilada. But guess what? This coach or leader doesn’t know that yet and, yes, you are very upset. Being the new kid can have it’s crushing moments. Suddenly the thing you loved becomes something you despise because it makes you feel pretty messed up inside.
It can make you question _____________.
When you are the new kid, you always wonder why something is happening. Does the teacher not like me because I’m not from here? Do the kids not like me because I’m not from here or because I’m different or because I’m just me? Did I not make it into (a higher level of classes, a position in band, a spot in chorus, a solo, an art show, student government) because I’m the new kid?
Everything may center on the thought that boils down to you are not welcome “here.” And that is hard. There is a need to “prove” yourself over and over again, and that is hard. There is the a constant wondering about who you are and if you are enough for HERE. Being the new kid can have its depressing moments. Suddenly you wonder who you really are and if it is enough for anyone.
It can make you feel ______________________.
Lonely. Upset. Alienated. Maybe you’ve even heard: It doesn’t matter because you are only here for a short while. This can mean people don’t give you something because someone else will be here “longer” to appreciate it. Or it can mean that someone burdens you with something because you’ll be gone soon. Being labeled “temporary” is hurtful because you want to place your faith in people who can see how their interactions with you last “forever.” Being the new kid can be a burden. Suddenly you are left questioning people’s motives and wishing they could see how they could be a blessing on your entire life even when you are with them for a moment.
Being the new kid is hard. And, as parents of the “new kid,” we hold our breath with you as you go to a new school, to a new neighborhood, to a new town, base or post. We coach you with, “Try your hardest.” and “You can do this.” and “It will be good. I can just feel it.” as you walk away from us into the unknown. What is the truth? We don’t know what the experience will be like – – we cannot predict what people will do, how they will react, or what the outcome will be… Sometimes the outcome will be:
Sometimes it turns out kind of rotten.
We can hold our heads high together. We can be confident in who we are regardless of how others react. We can turn to each other and share our concerns. We can be a soft place to land when the world seems hard. We can be the encouraging words. We can be the person who points to the rainbows and sunny days. We can mourn the harsh words with you and hold your hand as we walk away from them. We can be kind. We can forgive. We can get stronger. We can build each other up. We can teach others how to treat us. We can see the road ahead instead of the speed bumps along the way.
No, being the new kid is not easy. In the moments, when we are wondering, “What is it? What is making this happen?” we often point to “being the new kid.” And the reality is: that may be the answer. Or it may not.
In military life, being the “new kid” may be our reality. But that doesn’t mean we need to own how other people react to it.
I am the new kid.
Things aren’t always going to be easy for me.
People may make things harder because they don’t know me yet.
But I’m not going to let their words make me less.
I am going to be kind. I am going to grow. And I am going to shine.
Because I am the new kid.
Full of promise. Full of experiences. Full of what’s ahead.
Not focused on what has always been.
But looking out toward what could be.
There’s No One I’d Rather Be Than Me. — Wreck It Ralph