This morning I found a crumpled announcement in Bear's backpack for a Writer's Reception after school today. Students from the local college would be leading a workshop to introduce a school-wide writing contest and give the junior high kids pointers.
Bear is a capital-W Writer. She writes constantly and prolifically, never going anywhere without a notebook. An entire shelf in her closet is dedicated to her writing notebooks, her lists of story ideas, and character sketches. She's been known to leap off the couch in the middle of a movie to go jot down a sudden story idea.
I waved the piece of paper at her and asked if she'd seen it.
Me: Well, are you going?
Bear (hesitant): I don't know.
Bear: Welllll...I'm not sure if anyone I know will be going.
Me: Who cares? This is about writing! Just think of all the great pointers you could pick up.
Me: Are you going to enter the contest?
Daddy Shortbread: Oh, come on. If there were an after-school program where they were handing out free money, would you first wait to find out if any of your friends would be there?
Bear (dead serious): Yes.
And there you have it. We have officially entered the phase of Peer Pressure. It kills me that she would suppress her own interests lest she not appear cool. But I also remember being that age, and I do remember how truly important it seemed not to stand out from the herd, even though the perspective of time has shown me just how ridiculous that was. All I can do is continue to support and encourage her interests at home and hope that eventually, please God, she will realize that peer approval is nothing if you're not true to yourself.