The Parent Grading Scale

I was once fortunate enough to listen to a speaker, who, in the midst of his speech said something that resonated with me - hard. He said, "Grades do not tell the story of a child."

The end. I'm done. I just want you all to know that's the cold, hard truth.

Okay, there's more. But that's the main event, folks. If you know nothing else in regards to the delicate relationship between parenting and your children's grades -know that fact.

Know it of your children.

Know it of the children whose names you see on the Honor Roll semester after semester.

Know it of the children whose names you don't see on the Honor Roll.

Those letters on their report card scarcely tell one gol' dern thing about that kid and who they really are.

I know this because I had the fortunate experience of working in an elementary school for five years.

I know this because I've had the fortunate experience of parenting for 17. Years, that is. Not months. Someone who's been parenting for 17 months doesn't know doodle about grades. They're still in the delusional state of thinking their child is going to bring home straight A's and go to an Ivy League School.

And maybe they will. But if they do - that doesn't mean that kid is naturally smart. It doesn't mean that kid didn't struggle in school in one subject or another. It just means their work panned out well enough to get them to attain a goal.

Or their parents' goal.

Because isn't that a parenting truth? Do you know how many of the Honor Roll kids make the grades so they don't disappoint their parents? A-freaking-lot.

Parenting friends, pressure - as they say - is a motherfu....

Wait? They don't say that?

Oh. Well, I do.

Fine - I'll rephrase. Pressure is like eating a stick of dynamite - some kids will handle it just fine. Digest. Poop. Repeat.

Other kids will wash it down with a bag of flaming Cheetos and the whole thing will go boom right in front of you.

And that pressure doesn't have to come from you. It may come from their teachers. It may come from their goals. It may come from themselves.

I give you - a regular evening in my house as exhibit A. Two children in my house were set to have science test this week in their respective science classes. Different classes. Different teachers. Way different kids - wait for it.

Kid one, had one and half hours of other homework, does nothing after school except go to practice, eat dinner, homework and study. Goes to bed. Kid one gets a 64% on the test.

Kid two, on the other hand brings home a half-completed study guide. Finishes study guide. Goes through and asks mother to double check the already-answered questions on the study guide. (Mother knows jack-didley about the Mesozoic Era and spends 25 minutes on Google.) Cries himself to sleep freaking out over not knowing the material well enough. Kid two gets a B+ on the test.

These two children have the same mother. The same mother whose expectations on grades is and will always be: I expect you to get the best grade you can.

Which leads me back around to my original quote by speaker George Couros, "Grades do not tell the story of a child."

Good grades will not tell you of the children who will cheat to get the A. They'll do whatever it takes, at all costs to make the grade. For themselves. For their dad. Whomever.

Poor grades do not tell the story of the kid who studies relentlessly, only to be woken up four times during the night by little brother with an ear infection whom he shares a room with. And when the kid goes to school looking tired and preforms poorly on the test - what do people assume? He was up late playing video games? Didn't bother to study at all?

Mediocre grades do not decipher the kids who are naturally smart and school comes easy for them but they rarely apply themselves so their grades are only so-so from the kid who works his tail off in every subject but his Dislexia makes it almost impossible for the kid to get an A in any subject dealing with reading or writing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Parenting. is. hard. We need not judge one another's parenting nor their children by the Honor Roll report or the gold star report. Adults - do yourselves a favor, the next time you want to place stock in a child's grades - go ask one or two of your adult friends what their GPA was in high school. And make sure if they give you an answer of anything less than what you expect from your children that you terminate friendship with them - immediately.

After all, you don't need those kind of morons in your life, right?

Or do you? Do you need people who are good and honest and can keep a secret, regardless of the fact that they were a C's-get-degrees kind of person in school?

I sure hope you do. Because we need good and honest people just as much as we need people who get straight A's.