• Grades and the right perspective



    My daughter’s first quarter grades have been released and I am happy with them. I always am. Not because they are high, but because beneath those grades, I know my daughter gave her best. For Jesus.

    Let me tell you that as a person whose hobby was studying throughout the 15 years I was schooled, I tend to be critical when it comes to the numbers I see on my test papers and final grades. I grew up an achiever and a perfectionist who always strive for the highest possible mark.

    Consequently and inevitably, I would expect the same from my daughter. I almost did, actually. But praise God for Christian Parenting books that gave me the right perspective on grades.

    Truthfully speaking, there is nothing wrong with striving for excellence. We all should be doing and giving our best wherever God placed us.

    But once it becomes the ultimate motive in your heart—to be number one to beat others, to be popular as a straight A student—and you go overboard, overly competitive and hard on yourself, or others, that’s when you know you’re caught in the performance trap.

    You must then ask yourself, “Why do you want [or for your children]to have [very]high grades anyway? What do grades represent for you?”

    Do you want high grades because they reveal your child’s intelligence? Because it will give you something to be proud of or brag about your child?

    Is it because they reflect your ability to teach your child, therefore feeding your ego and securing yourself that you are a good and responsible mother/father? Are you competing with your co-parents’ ability to teach?

    A happy child makes an academic performer

    Is it an accurate measure of your child’s intelligence and study habits? Does high mark make you feel that all your hard work for your child’s expensive education is worth it?

    There can be a number of selfish, misplaced, pride-stroking reasons in our desire for our children to have high grades. But hopefully, today, those will be shattered and we can come to a humble repentance and acceptance of just what grades are: numbers.

    Beyond looking at the numeric gauge of a child’s overall performance in school, us parents must look more at the heart of our children; at their attitude towards studying; at their love for the process of learning. We must acquire first then teach them the right attitude for schooling.

    I explain to Gummy that her job as a child who is privileged to be sent to a school is simple: to study.

    By study, I do not mean to bring home high grades, perfect scores and stars each day. Rather, it is to focus and listen to teacher when she is in class; to make friends so she can enjoy her recess and lunch meals with them and make her overall academic life more joyful and colorful; and to review with Mummy when she has quizzes and exams lined up.

    All other hours she is not in school and has no scheduled tests, her task is simply to be happy and enjoy life as a child.

    Her activities are categorized into playing; praying and learning about Jesus; and acquiring responsibilities through house chores.

    My focus is in teaching her that everything she does must be pleasing to God—from being a child (so her kind of play activities are bound to be acceptable to God), to her house chores (when she helps out she makes God happy), to schooling (she makes God happy when she gives her best).

    Whatever activity she may be doing, the central heart must be to give her best to make God happy, regardless of the results. And so, I choose to look at the fact that she always does her best—regardless of the numeric equivalent. That is my secret to being happy and content with her grades.

    As a mother, my focus is in making Gummy a well rounded, balanced, godly and above all, happy child. Children go to school to learn and be trained, not for grades alone.


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