I’ve talked a lot about how a strong, positive community can provide the support necessary to help an individual through times of hardship or indeed, as a young person, difficult transitions. The most common difficult transition young people make is from Primary to Secondary school from the ages of 10 to 12.
For me personally, this was a difficult transition. I recall the pressure of developing/entering new social groups and I recall the higher academic demands being particularly challenging.
After transitioning between 2 primary schools previously and finding it hard to become welcomed into the current social group, resulting in bullying, I found I was now faced with a very similar problem. I was moving from a very small, rural school with less than 15 in my year and none of my current school friends were making the switch to the new secondary school that I was moving to. Those joining the new school were mostly formed by 3 main, large Primary Schools and social groups had long been established for many years. Coupled with this we had moved house to another rural village and I was in a position where I had not formed any social groups or friendship groups at home or in school.
The first few months were difficult, as any child would find at the time. Once again the martial arts community  I was a part of was the only constant in an ever changing, social situation. I saw the same faces every other day and was given the injection of positivity, self worth and confidence I needed to get me through yet again another difficult transition in my life.
A common mistake…
A common mistake I find parents making is to completely cancel any outside club their child attends as they go through this transition in the hope they will make new friends and pick up new sports/clubs or opportunities in their new school. I believe this to be a mistake because:

a) It’s a gamble that they will make friends quickly and not be isolated in their new school, that they will fit in perfectly into one of the many new clubs they now have an option to join.

b) They may well have worked hard to build a strong sense of community in their current club and taking this away from them as well as the community of their Primary School can be too much of a shock. Consistency and daily/weekly habits (like going to a particular class) can do wonders for maintaining or improving confidence.

c) The benefits of a strong community listed above are built upon over many years, there is a powerful cumulative effect if a child remains in the community that has build them up. The new skills they now possess can now be taught to others and this aspect of “Leading” will have a profound effect on their sense of self, their sense of pride and the development of their Character. More on this in the “Lead” Section.
Check out our next blog… there’s a massive transition young people go through… a biological transition we haven’t touched on that shakes the emotional foundation of almost every young person as they develop. This is also a time parents typically dread as their brilliant children can become argumentative, irrational, aggressive, hyper-sensitive, depressed and particularly difficult to live with.  Stay tuned.