Report Card Highs…And Lows

To grade or not to grade...that is the question

To grade or not to grade…that is the question.

I grew up in your typical West Indian family:

  • We spent every other Christmas in Trinidad lest we lose touch with the Motherland.
  • My parents never used one word when 57 would suffice. The more syllables, the better.
  • My siblings and I never came home with anything less than an A…unless we wanted to hear the “we came to this country so you could…” speech for the next 2 hours.

It’s an upbringing that I wouldn’t trade for the world, but I have had to do some deprogramming now that I am a parent.

When Nick brought home his 3rd quarter grades, let’s just say that it gave us…pause. We weren’t exactly circling the drain.  But a number of M’s (mastered) had fallen to S’s (satisfactory).  And where the heck did that E (emerging) come from?! How could I put this up on fridge, let alone post it on FB?

“Oh cool, my report card,” Nick exclaimed when he saw it on the dining room table.

“Yup, there is it.”  I chose my next words very carefully.  “How do you think you did?”

In the past, I would have highlighted all of the places where he went down in the past 2 quarters and demanded an explanation, but that was the old, crazy, overachieving helicopter mom that I am trying to stuff into a little box in the closet.  The new and improved go-with-the-flow mom wants to hear what her 1st grader thinks about his performance…and then will bite her tongue so as not to let the cra-cra come out.

He studied the paper, fiddling with his fingers while he silently mouthed something.

“I got 20 M’s and 15 S’s. So that’s more VERY goods, then just OK goods.”

Huh, I hadn’t seen it like that.

He saw the entire school year where I had only seen the snapshot – the moment in time that captured the areas where he needed a little more work.  It’s so easy to get trapped in “the now” and lose sight of “the nows” – the summation of moments that make up a life.  But that’s one of Nick’s many gifts – he can see the big picture. He instinctively knew what I should have known – that in the grand scheme of things he was doing just fine – that the ebb and flow of his academic performance was to be expected.

My son is a sine wave, a pattern of energy, sometimes up, sometimes down, always crossing the center.

It is here that I will meet him

Without judgment.
Without fail.

“Thank you, Nick.”

He looked up from the report card, questioning. “For what, Nana?”

For smoothing my rough edges…making me see beyond who I am to who I can become.
For being you.

“For explaining…things.”

“No problem, Nana.  I’m good at figuring things out.”

How right you are, kiddo.

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