These lessons present themselves for my husband and me to be present with our boys at the moment to see what brings them joy and sparks their interests. It is daunting, but something, we wouldn’t trade for the world.
Last week D came home from high school flabbergasted after a long day. As we sat around the supper table visiting about our days the boys were happily munching and chatting. “Another thing,” D added, “Can you believe that C got grounded for failing grades?” My response was “Yikes!” D told us, “C said his dad got really really upset!” I told D that unfortunately, that happens in some families. D said, “Don’t worry I told everyone my parents thankfully don’t freak out over grades.” I raised my eyebrow at D. He said,”I know. I am expected to do my best and put forth the effort. And be kind.”
D was 100% correct that in our house we don’t freak out over grades too much. We have told our boys that they always will be expected to do their best, they must work hard and put forth the effort. We also implore our children to be kind people. The world is not always black and white, right or wrong. There is a lot of gray areas where we have to say it depends on the situation.
We have four simple rules we follow when it comes to the boys and their school work.
- Accept responsibility: The boys have had their times in school when concepts were not understood, or they misunderstood a project resulting in a reduced grade. It is a work in process; however, we help the boys process through what happened. Do you think you understood the material/message from the teacher? Should you have asked more questions? Do you think you worked hard? Do you think you deserve a higher grade for the effort you put forth?
- Respect the teachers in & out of the classroom: This is a lesson that we have really focused on with D now that he is in high school. He has struggled to keep a good attitude about some of the teachers. Our message to D is there is a way to respectfully question or discuss with an adult without falling into the “poor me” category. If and when the discussion takes place, accept the final answer and thank your teacher for discussing with you.
- Your work is your work. My husband and I refuse to do any work for the boys. The work belongs to the boys, not to us. We want the boys to feel proud of the work they do. Now, yes, we will help with any guidance or supervision that they may need. Overall the work is completed by the boys. As we tell them we already rocked _____ grade _______! (Fill in the blank with grade/subject)
- We are proud of you. We want the boys to know that home is and always will be their safe spot. All the way across the spectrum of grades. Our family is perfectly imperfect. Will we stumble along the way? Of course! Will the boys get poor grades in school? We know it will happen. If we can see that boys have worked hard, put in the effort, and have been humble and kind in the process it is a lesson learned.
These lessons present themselves for the boys to develop a well-rounded look at the learning process. Yes, the grade is the end result. However, there is so much more that takes place to get you to that grade. Sometimes, just sometimes, I appreciate the process more than the grade. We can see their work ethic developing and how they decide to tackle a project. These lessons present themselves for my husband and me to be present with our boys at the moment to see what brings them joy and sparks their interests.
All my best to you,