When the child comes home after a long day at school; we ask ‘how was your test?’ not ‘how are you?’ We ask them, ‘did you score well?’ not ‘did you lie or misbehave today?’
We don’t directly say it but we convince them that a shiny report card is all we need. How do we do this? By telling them that it’s the only thing which will determine who they are and will ever be. This very sort of idea plants a concept in their minds: straight A’s are the only glittery things in the picture of their personality. A good report card means a good life. A good report card means a good personality.
But tell me, if it were that straightforward – why do you still not feel completely content after satisfying every person who expected this from you?
The fault lies when we find out that our children are not scoring those shiny A’s and start giving ‘examples.’ Yes, to us they are examples but in reality, they are comparisons. Comparisons to those who do score well.
Comparisons to those who are just naturally academically good, and to the world, the perfect examples of youth. The perfect children, the perfect students.
In circumstances as these, of course, the kind of student is perfect, you literally have to put in no effort for their success. It’s convenient, raising that child. And we have always craved the easy way out, haven’t we? Short-cuts, short-term solutions, ease, comfort and anything that’s time/cost-effective – even living breathing children.
Let me tell you about the other side of the picture. Not every child is the same. Not every child has the same learning power or the same diligence or ambition as the one you’re eyeing. Everyone has their own capacity and pace – the question then becomes; on what basis do you compare your child? Are you weighing their quantitative test scores versus their personality make-up? Is that how shallow it really is?
Do we disregard the intentional effort that the child might actually be putting in every day regardless of the fact that they might be having trouble accomplishing it?
By giving these ‘examples/comparisons’ we lower the self-confidence of our children. We shatter their hopes to be better at any point of their life because we are literally telling them about concrete concepts such as good grades are everything when in actuality, it’s really not what it boils down to.
Please stop this comparison. Stop telling your children other ‘shiny’ stories of ‘shiny’ kids with ‘shiny’ report cards. Don’t teach them that they’re the second best and will stay this way. Instead, encourage them even if they aren’t that good at something. Put yourselves in their place, I’m sure you’ll treat them way better.
I am not promoting children to take my word and stop studying, or parents to stop telling their children to be successful. I am requesting all parents to change their ways of telling their children what is really best for them. Instead of treating them like a liability or a utility, treat them like growing plants who need to be nurtured, watered, cared for every-day, they won’t grow up by just hearing ‘grow up.’
If your child doesn’t score academically, the world doesn’t end. Not every child can have a brain for math or science. If there’s anything they are extraordinary at, they’re going to be the best at it. If they like what they do and aren’t being forced into doing it,
they’ll surpass those kids you gave examples of; they will be the examples.