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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Progress Not Perfection

My son was very nervous to show me his report card yesterday evening.

He knows my expectations of my children are (almost unreasonably) high when it comes to their academic performance...

... and he was worried there were too many "B" grades for me to be anywhere close to happy.

So imagine his surprise when, after reviewing the report card for a few minutes, my reaction was to loudly exclaim, "This is GREAT, Aidan!"

My children know me well enough to know I'm the parent who tells it like it is... so if I'm not happy with their grades, I'm not going to fake being happy.

But there were three reasons for my very genuine positive reaction.

1. The front page of his report card was filled with Es.

No, not letter-grade "E"s. That would have been bad.

The first page of the report card is the "Learning Skills and Work Habits" section, where students are graded (E)xcellent, (G)ood, (S)atisfactory, or (N)eeds Improvement on six categories:

  • Responsibility

  • Organization

  • Independent Work

  • Collaboration

  • Initiative

  • Self-Regulation

You know, the stuff we can each control for ourselves every day.

At the start of every school year, I tell my kids, "The front page of your report card isn't about what you know, it's about how you choose to behave... which means there's no good reason you can't score all Es in this section."

And in five of the six categories, Aidan earned an E.

(In the sixth, he earned a "G"... not bad!)

This was his best performance in this section of any report card he's received to date.

2. In every subject except for one, he improved his grade from this time last year.

(And the one? He maintained his grade.)

In other words, I'm not unhappy he earned Bs.

I'm ecstatic he pulled his grades up since last year... in almost every subject!

I'm thrilled he decided he was going to improve, and he did.

And I couldn't be happier he's embracing "Progress, not perfection."

(Which is something I STILL struggle with myself, if I'm being honest...)

3. His teacher's commentary was positively glowing!

"Aidan follows through with his responsibilities and commitments."

"Aidan understands the importance of building and maintaining positive relationships. He treats others with kindness and respect."

"When sharing his thoughts and ideas, Aidan's contributions to class discussions are insightful, help his classmates to make connections, and deepen the collective understanding of the group."

That's just a sample. There's a 1/3 of a page filled with remarks just like that.

As a parent, what more could I ask for there??

I was disappointed with one thing yesterday, though...

... that my son thought this was a bad result!

The good news?

He knows better now.

A student proudly holding up his report card.

1 Comment

Congratulations Young Man!!


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