“Last night my 10-year-old son came into my room sobbing because he had received a bad grade on an exam he studied very hard for.
As tears filled the corners of his eyes, his exact words to me were, ‘I feel like a failure. I’m never going to make it into college. I hate myself.’
My heart broke into a million pieces. His grade was only a C+.
All week, I had watched him study.
I watched him finish every homework assignment with careful thought and seriousness.
I watched him take his exam seemingly confident.
But still, it was not enough.
You see, my son is not a good test taker.
Give him the opportunity to talk about his knowledge and he really shines. But put questions and tasks on paper and BOOM, anxiety. Second-guessing. Erase marks, cross outs, whiteout.
My boy tried so hard and still came up short, so much so that he felt like a failure.
So much so that he felt like he didn’t have a future.
So much so that he said he hated himself.
So much so that he sobbed into my lap as I reassured him it was only one grade, to which he responded that he’d already given up.
THIS is what letters and numbers do to our children. They break their motivation, spirit, and sense of self-worth.
Every child is different.
Some are visual learners, others auditory.
Some love multiple choice while others prefer speaking engagements.
Some benefit from group projects and others despite it.
Some can get straight As without having to try, and others can get Cs with all their effort applied.
Some can sit still, others need something to fiddle with.
Some can pay attention for long periods of time, others get lost in space without constant engagement.
Yet, testing still remains extremely rigid.
Numbers and letters cannot, and will not, determine our children’s worth, creativity, potential, talent, intellect, or future.
Parents, we need to fill in the gaps. While it’s important to motivate your children to focus and apply themselves in school, it is equally as important to emphasize that the numbers and letters on the page aren’t the end-all-be-all.
Screw the C+.
My boy stood up for a child being bullied in his class last year.
My boy sits with the child who sits alone at lunch.
My boy waves hi and bye to the garbage man.
My boy holds doors open.
My boy watches over his little sister with what can only be described as fierce, unstoppable love.
My boy zigzags on sidewalks to avoid stepping on bugs and ants.
And guess what? None of these things can be graded.
If it were up to me, I’d say my boy is getting straight As in the kindness department.
Give your child opportunities in the home and outside of school to really shine.
Because there is nothing more beautiful than a child who believes in themself.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sharon of Oklahoma. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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