Imagine, if you will, that it’s a week before Christmas but instead of your head being filled with visions of sugarplums and rum and eggnog, you were pacing the floors worrying about your upcoming report card.
Yes, you. A grown-up. With a real grown-up job. Imagine that three times a year someone marked you and put their thoughts and opinions about you on paper for all to see.
“Oh,” you may say, “That happens to me. I get evaluated at my job all the time.”
Ah, yes. Your job. Presumably that thing you are good it. The thing that you chose to do for a career because you have some aptitude for it.
But what if you were evaluated on everything in your life? Not just the things you are good at but everything.
How do you think you would fare?
Report cards went home at my school this week. There was excitement and tears, joy and frustration. Some children were thrilled and others were terribly disappointed. Teachers put a lot of effort into writing detailed, well-thought out comments, but those were often skimmed over, as parents and students zeroed in on the A, B, C or D.
Everyone has strengths and challenges. As adults, we have learned to stick with what we are good at and avoid our weak areas like the plague. Children don’t have this option. They have to be good at EVERYTHING. Art, science, math and writing. Sports, music, geography and reading. And if they aren’t? If they don’t get an A or a B on their report card? Sound the alarm bells!!! It’s a national crisis.
As adults, we don’t expect ourselves to be good at everything across the board, so why do we expect this from our children? Why can’t our kids have strengths and challenges just like we do? If you were to get a report card right now, how do you think you would do? Check yourself against this list.
Reading – Are you reading the classics and discussing them regularly and in-depth with your friends? A+! Or do you limit your reading to text messages and Star magazine? Poor effort. C for you.
Writing – Do you regularly write long stories with proper grammar and perfect spelling? Bravo! A for you. Is your writing limited to misspelled Facebook posts with no punctuation? So sad. You get a C.
Math – How are your budgeting skills? Do you pay off your bills regularly and never overspend (even at Christmas)? A again. Are you generally good but occasionally overspend on really, really nice boots? B, but with caution. Are you living paycheck to paycheck? It’s a D for you.
Music – Do you play multiple instruments perfectly and with great gusto? Perfect marks for you. Do you sing off key to top 40 songs on the radio? Maybe a C. Try expanding your repertoire.
Art – Are you a Pinterest person with a houseful of crafty crafts? A+ for you! If you are more like me and all of your drawings involve stick people, sorry, you get a C.
Physical Education – Can you sink a basket, run a mile, and hit a ball? Are you a team player? The gym’s your thing! A+ If the only time you run is to catch the bus or get the last maple donut, you might need some remedial classes.
And don’t even get me started your behaviour! Are you nice to people? Not just the people you like but everyone? Are you helpful? Do you always get your work done on time? Are you kind, courteous and reliable?
We can’t all excel at everything. It’s just not possible. (Unless you’re Martha Stewart and even then, look what happened to her!) If your child brought home a report card, good or bad, or you just finished writing report cards, good and bad, make sure you put things in perspective. We are all gifted and we all struggle. It’s called being human. And kids are just little humans. Let’s cut them some slack.