The Risk of Straight A’s

As school has commenced again (crazy!), I’m reminded of the standards that students hold themselves and others to. Having a 15 and 12 year old at home, this conversation is frequent for our high schooler. We’ve been sharing our thoughts about what a “B” means when you are an honor roll student and a multi-sport athlete. Our reminders for the last 3 years:

  • A “B” doesn’t mean you’re ‘less-than’
  • A “B” doesn’t mean you didn’t put in time and effort through the semester
  • A “B” doesn’t change who you are, your morals, ethics or values

Sometimes, a grade is just that…a “B”.

Let the rest go.

As we attended an elementary school academic presentation, I was reminded of it again. There were rewards given of perfect attendance, academic performance, and a commitment to exercise. The highest rewards in school are: achieving 4.0 (more recognition for achieving this consecutively) and perfect attendance (more recognition for achieving this consecutively).

Now, I’m not saying to not try, to not strive for excellence. Excellence is different for each person and if the pursuit of excellence is too much to handle, it’s not worth it. If the stress is too high to achieve these standards, we’ve missed the point. When they graduate, will it make them a better person? Or will they fear failing (because they never have)? Will they always strive for perfection and think that iDo they get discouraged when something isn’t done to perfection? Do they say YES to everything and everyone because they don’t ever want to disappoint? Do they ask for help?

Do these expectations create more stress for these kids? For some they do, some they don’t.

I’m more interested in what school teaches them about life: about values, morals, how to treat people, how to show up big, how to respect your peers, teachers, coaches and administrators. I’m more interested in them being true to who they are, even with the crazy things going on – drugs, bullying, sex, inactivity, entitlement. I’m more interested in exposing them to real life, not taking anything too seriously and having fun. I’m more interested in imperfection than perfection. I’m more interested in them being a leader and building a circle of influence with other people who will change the world. I’m more interested in helping them love themselves, so that they can continue to make a HUGE contribution to this world in a few short years.

There is NOTHING that can replace our role: to create a beautiful person who will make a huge contribution to our world.

No “A”. No Perfect Attendance.

Continue to be their role model, to lead them, to inspire them to be their best everyday.

Dr. Tiffany


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