I experienced an epic parenting FAIL.
My son handed me his geometry quiz, needing a parent-signature and...
Instead of looking through the test to see his work, review what he got correct and incorrect—I went straight to the score at the top.
Before taking s breath, I told my son it looked like he needed to work a little harder on his math.
There it was—staring back at me with a blank look, a defeated shrug. Then he turned and walked away.
Immediately after it rolled off my tongue, I knew I had made a mistake. As I thumbed through the exam looking at the complex equations, most of which my forty-something brain could no longer solve, I realized I had done my child a disservice by failing to look first at his work.
For goodness sake. He’s an eighth grader taking sophomore math. What would be so wrong with a B+ on a quiz?
Did he try his best? Is the material challenging? Did he put forth his best effort?
With my tail between my legs. . .
I headed up the stairs. I walked into his room and sat on the edge of his bed.
I said I was sorry.
His response, "For what, mom?”
I confessed I felt horrible for criticizing him for his grade. I shared how proud of him I am for even electing to take honors geometry as an eighth grader.
He looked perplexed. I guess it’s not very often kids hear us apologize for flubbing up. I admitted I hadn’t been kind nor had I focused on what was important.
I know he works hard and I’m proud of him for being self-driven. I made sure he knew the grade isn’t what matters most to me. And I’ll have to prove it next time he hands me his schoolwork.
He had worked hard.
“This math is very different than algebra, he explained. I am getting used to it.”
I let him know I get it. And. I confessed that was why I majored in journalism. . .
Then, we had a good laugh.
I think the key to this parenting gig is a willingness to admit when we are wrong and then make it right.
Hopefully, my son learned something from this experience much greater than the score on a quiz. I hope he knows even adults make mistakes. And if we simply swallow our pride, own up to them, and apologize, we can be forgiven and try to do better next time.