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Challenge: Life Changes

What's really in a grade...

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So my 11 year old daughter asked me if I would be upset with her if she did not get 100% on her Chinese Quiz today. (Frankly, I am blown away she's even in the class)

I asked her, "What is your goal in taking this class anyway?"

She said, “To get a good grade” (with the “duh mom” attitude along with it).

That’s when I knew this conversation was so important.

I reminded her how happy she was the other day to be able to count to ten in Chinese and show off in front of her little brother. Despite the obvious – I want to beat my brother in just about anything – what else made her happy? It was the fact that she learned something new. Something she did not know before. That feeling of accomplishment goes a long way. So I asked her again why is she taking Chinese in school?

Then she sarcastically said, “To learn to speak Chinese”.


So despite the eye roll to her goofy mama, when she re-evaluated the reason she is taking this class, it then became less about getting a good grade and more about what she is learning.

If she accomplishes her goal of learning more today than she did yesterday she will most likely do well on her quiz. If she focuses with a sense of curiosity for something new, all the benefits that come along with learning something new and feeling competent and accomplished, the grade will most likely be good.

So what if that does not produce a high grade?

My answer may not be well received by other parents but I say that’s just fine. So what? I don’t care if she gets 100% or 20% on her quiz today. I care that she put effort into studying and learning and that she gets enjoyment out of learning something new.

If that gets her an A, then great!

If that same effort gets her less than an A, well that’s okay too.

I hope to challenge her to look at the effort she put into preparing for her quiz and be proud of what she learned and not obsess on the letter grade.

So many of us as parents can get hung up on grades and performance that is can put pressure on our kids to be perform the best at all times at the expense of their overall happiness and well-being. As a self described “recovering perfectionist” I get it. As a clinical therapist I see it often in women who struggle with the long term negative results of “people pleasing” perfectionism that started when they were young.

When I see the pressure my daughter putting pressure on herself over her grades, my goal becomes helping her see school as an opportunity to learn to enjoy new things, take on challenges and grow.

Grades are not the ultimate goal in my mind. My hope is that by doing this she will gain so much more than just the grade.

“Lose that MommyGuilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom” .

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