This is the first year our son receives letter grades at school. Of course I told him I wanted him to get all A’s.
“What about B’s?” he asked.
“B’s are just fine, but strive to get A’s. I know you can do it. Work hard, just like at baseball practice.”
Maybe I was being too harsh. I didn’t want to stress him out over a grade that will mean nothing 20 years from now. Or will it?
Not enough pressure and he’ll think it’s OK to get C’s and possibly a D. Hey, it’s passing, right?
I can remember my mother asking me why I got an A- and not an A+. She’d ask me who got A+’s and then tell me that those people weren’t any smarter than me.
Had my mother not pushed me I’m not sure I would have been able to pay for college with scholarships. Maybe I’d be in debt with student loans.
The other day our son came home with a test score that was less than an A. He had tears in his eyes. He thought he had disappointed me.
Instead of getting upset and freaking him out, I helped him go over the answers he got wrong. He knew why he missed those questions, and honestly that was enough for me. I knew that he understood the material; he just got into too much of a hurry.
Of course I’d be beaming with pride if I saw my son up there at high school graduation, giving the valedictorian speech. Think of all that money saved with scholarships paying for overpriced colleges.
But after that “the future holds blah blah blah” speech, which no one even remembers, the “smartest” kid in the school rarely goes out and changes the world.
I graduated from a small Catholic high school, a whopping class of 43 students. Should colleges be impressed that the valedictorian “beat” only 42 other teens?
Some schools now have multiple valedictorians, making the title almost meaningless. According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, as many as half of schools don’t even report class ranks.
Kids can play the game of school perfectly, but how will they play the game of life?
As the year goes on I’ve been proud of our son, not only because he’s a smart kid and does get A’s, but because he’s also a kind boy. He gets along with everyone, and teachers have told us that he shows courtesy and good manners.
In the end I’ll be most proud of the respectful gentleman my son becomes, of his creativity and his desire to be whoever he wants to be when he grows up.
There’s more to success than all A’s.
How do you really change the world? “One single act of random kindness at a time.”