Monday, April 12, 2010

Life Lessons: Report Card Woes

Before I get to the main focus of my post today, I would like to direct your attention to It's So Very Cheri's latest give-a-way!  Cheri has some great posts, so check her out if you haven't yet.  I'd also like to say a big THANK YOU to Cheri for the beautiful set of necklace tiles that I won via Diane Estrella's blog!  THANKS to Diane too!


Whether it's peeling carrots for the first time or dealing with someone you love letting you down, life lessons are everywhere.  Simple challenges can leave us feeling confident and give us a great boost of self esteem, but those are just the easy tasks.  At times it's hard to handle the learning curves that are thrown our way, but I've found it's even more difficult to see my children paddling through those rough waters.  Our latest lesson has fallen onto my oldest son, O, as well as my husband and me.

O is a very smart little man.  I realize that as his Mom, this doesn't come across as strongly as it would if I was an objective party, but I promise this to be the truth.  O has always performed above his grade level (and still is).  During March is Reading Month, my son was among the top readers of his elementary school.  He consistently meets and exceeds the goals placed before him.  It is this fact that caused us some concern when his last report card was received.

When the white envelope came home from school, it never crossed my mind that we would find anything but excellence.  In fact we fell into that category in every area... except for one.  We discovered that O was "experiencing difficulty" in... writing.  I emailed O's teacher right away and our parent/teacher conference took place less than a week later.

With this report card grade being noted, many of you might be surprised to learn that O is in an advanced writing group in his class.  In fact, I assist two days a week to monitor and help these kids.  Knowing this extra piece of information, you might have a few questions as to how a student in a higher learning group would be unable to excel in this area.  Trust me, I was asking the same questions.  What happened here?!?

Many of you may be aware that young elementary students are often tested in their areas of skill to determine their final report card grade.  As the writing "test" was given, the students were expected to meet the criteria of 5 star sentences.  On this particular day, my son decided that he wasn't interested in taking his time or doing his best.  He chose to rush through and not correct the mistakes he made in his haste to finish (so that he could read for fun).  The problem is that my son is bored with writing and although he has proven he is capable of producing 5 star sentences, he doesn't want to consistently do his best work.  Therefore, his lack of care led to a "experiencing difficulty" grade.  His teacher did however make us aware that O is doing work meant for the grade level above his own.

While we discussed the issue with his teacher, O quickly admitted to all 3 of us that he knew he hadn't done his best and could have fixed things during his test.  In return, my husband and I made him aware of what needed to change beyond his grade... his attitude towards writing.  To try and remedy the situation we determined that the following few weeks would result in no tv or video games.  A much yearned for end of the school year reward was put into jeopardy as well.

Now the lesson in this for O should be clear.  Always do your best!  If you don't try your hardest, you won't achieve your goals and may lose what's important to you as a result.

As for me, I am learning something else.  My lesson in this situation is that sometimes I need to let my children fail.  I can tell my sons what's best for them and encourage them along the way, but I can't make them do what needs to be done.  There will be moments in life when they will need to learn the hard way.  At this moment, I have to let go.  It's up to O to decide if his end of the year reward is worth working for.  If he doesn't do his best, he will be disappointed.  My job as his Mom is to let him learn this lesson in his own way.  Whatever O chooses to do, I'll be there to help him understand the positive or negative consequences of our actions or inactions.  Either way, it will involve a hug and all the love a Mom can give her son.

What lessons have you learned lately?  Have you learned any good lessons from or through your children?  Do you feel that you are constantly learning?  Share one of your special life lessons.


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  1. I know exactly what you're saying. My son has had a rushed attitude at times in school and they do seem to correspond with tests sometimes. I have given the "do your best" speech too, but then reflect on areas in my life that I just do a get-by minimum. Good post! :O)

  2. You're such great parents!! We love you and Miss you!! Maybe O's end of school year reward could be... A FAMILY move to Maine ???

  3. Sometimes the consequences of our actions or the lack there of need to be felt. As a parent the hardest job is to stick to the plan. To many times I see parents that set the boundaries but never enforce them. Praying that you and Chris will have the strenght to see it through. Love ya Aunt Nancy

  4. I have learn alot of lessons as a parent of 2 of the most incredible daughters. I want so much for them however my overprotectiness drives them crazy at times...I think as time marched on they understand that my protectiness is out of love..Some days I don't think they listen and then down the road I do see they have listened and handled their situations with such grace...

  5. Very wise lessons learned! Often I find various characteristics I need to help my children work on, whether it's putting on diligence and putting off laziness. Or putting on a servant's heart and putting off selfishness. You get the idea! I usually try to find a Scripture verse that goes with the characteristic I want them to practice so that they can see that by practicing it, they're pleasing God.

  6. I can't relate to the lessons you are learning right now as I am not there yet, but, we as human beings learn something everyday no matter what our age. Great job for teaching your son something so important.

  7. Well, considering I don't have any children yet I can't say that I've learned from them, but just being a part of a family means you get plenty of lessons.
    Leaning is always a good thing, even when it's hard for a while.
    At the moment I'm learning that I shouldn't let other people be the lynch pin in my attitude. Even if everyone else doesn't understand, knowing I have God's understanding is enough. :)

  8. Diane- I think we all have areas where we tend to do the minimum. Learning lessons along with our children seem to happen fairly often. :)

    Shelly- As much as we miss Maine & everyone there, I don't think a move will be happening any time soon. *hugs* We love you all!

    Aunt Nancy- It is certainly a struggle to stick with it when all you want is to see your kids succeed and make them happy. In the long run though, we know that realizing there are consequences for your actions is a valuable lesson.

    Lesley- It's so great to know that what you teach your children (even when you don't think they listen) sticks with them as they grow. :)

    Jody- Finding a scripture to go with the lesson or characteristic in progress is a great idea! I love it! :)

    Lynn- Eventually you will get to a point when your little one is learning similar lessons. I've seen a lot more boys than girls stuggling with this one in particular, so maybe you'll luck out there.

    Emily- Family is absolutely full of lessons! :) Letting other people be the lynch pin of your attitude is certainly something I struggle with from time to time. It's hard not to let others affect you in that way.

  9. Our children offer us many lessons throughout their matter how old. My almost 35 year old taught me to stop giving "advice" and allow him to choose how he wants to live his life.

    It frees me up to do what I need to do with my life when I let go of having to know what he should be doing.

    Thanks for the post...enjoyed your perspective. Have a great summer together.