If you have children in school, then you most likely received their report card in the past week. This is an exciting time and I remember waiting to see my report card too. As we looked at my daughter's grades, comments, and average...tears of joy attempted to escape. It isn't the first time to have such wonderful comments about her character and work ethic.
It isn't the first time she's made the honor roll BUT it is the first report card in a few years to show the exciting growth we witnessed on a daily basis. Sometimes, our kids are making gains and moving mountains in ways a school and the state are unable to measure. It's important to remember, not everything about your child is reflected at the ten week marking period. Some of the most exciting growth is often not listed due to the report card template yet these are the successes, teachers and parents, MUST celebrate often.
As a parent, our daughter faced health obstacles in sixth grade. Some resolved within a couple years, while others were left undiagnosed until the end of tenth grade. If you are a parent, the hardest thing you will do in life is watch your child suffer, experience constant illness, and in some cases, you may need to say "until we meet again". This is why it's so important to celebrate all growth, not just the ones documented in your child's report card. I like a beautiful, color-coded, and organized chart as much as the next person, if not more BUT when it comes to our children...I find ways to celebrate growth in each and every child, especially my own.
For instance, while our daughter is a healthy and vibrant junior in high school, she has worked hard to reach this point. If you only view her high school report cards, it appears she only attended school about 50% of the time in ninth and tenth grade. Her grades were average. This is what a report card shows you yet our child is more than these numbers and facts on paper. It doesn't reflect the weekly doctor appointments, the magnitude of testing, and failed attempts to walk out the door in order to attend school. A report card doesn't reflect hours spent with tutors, her parents, or a friend trying to understand all the curriculum she missed. What if we only focused on the numbers for two years?
Thankfully, we don't know the answer to this question. We prayed she passed her regents, which she did, but the other numbers are just that...numbers. We celebrated each time she made it another hour into the school day before having to come home. We recognized a new concept learned without the assistance of the tutor or the school. We encouraged her to look to the future rather than dwelling in the illness and inabilities she was living. Once God brought the right doctor into our daughter's life, measurable growth started to be recorded but for a few years...her success and growth was measured by the little things. In our case, the journey produced a report card reflecting her strength, determination, and ability to overcome adversity. These are life skills not measured or reported on.
Don't throw out the report cards, they are valuable and one way colleges, military, and even employers use to determine how we fit with their needs. My hope is that when you look at your child's report card, if their trend lines are low or they aren't quite making the "aim line"...please stop before speaking because some of the greatest growth isn't measured by this moving target. We must still encourage our students to strive for the goal but when we know a goal might be near impossible for our child, find the positives. Celebrate the growth your child made and one day, you may see the product of years of encouragement, support, hard work, determination, and desire.
To some, writing their name and forming letters for the first time is a huge success yet one you won't see as a success at thirty weeks. Another child's success might be making it to school almost daily while battling illness. The next child might have no home support, so their success is they arrive to school with a smile on their face ready to learn. As you read your child or grandchild's report card, don't start with the negatives or lack of growth. First, find a positive and celebrate this. A little encouragement will go a long way, our kids need to know we see their growth, especially when it's the hardest to find or recognize.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
How do you measure growth when you see your child's report card?
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323