Made you look!
You thought you were about to read a guest post by Amy Chua.
Nope - no Chinese parent vs. Western parent here. I'm more cub than tiger Mom.
Harper chose to shoot for straight A's this quarter. This desire was all hers, for George and I have never placed this expection on her shoulders. It's just not our way. I have friends who do, and that's their deal. I have acquaintances who pay cash for certain grades or give prizes.
The last time we paid cold, hard cash, or gave prizes for reaching a specific goal was back in the potty training days.
It's not that I disagree with rewarding good grades. It's simply not the way we choose to operate.
Which is interesting, really. For Harper's desire to get all A's came solely from herself. With no prompting from us. No promise of material rewards. It was simply something she wanted.
"That's great. I will do everything I can to help you reach your goal. I just want to be clear that I did not SET this goal. You did. So, when I double-check your homework, or read one of your papers and make suggestions - I don't want lip. Homework will be completed before any other activity - even guitar. You asked for straight A's. I will support your effort. I will respect your goal. In return, you need to agree to respect the effort it will take to reach it."
She applied herself really well this quarter. Studied hard. Didn't complain and whine about homework. Where homework was a battle-field last year (4th grade), we've not experienced any gnashing of teeth and clashing of wills this year. When she would bring home a B on a test, or that rare D, I didn't flinch, because SHE HAD DONE THE WORK. We simply reviewed the mistakes and moved on.
The result? All A's and two B's.
I was pleased. She was pleased.
"I know you wanted straight A's, Harper. I am really pleased with this report card. You?"
"I worked really hard and know I did my best."
It's true. She did. It's one thing for a kid to say "I did my best" when they haven't studied or in are in a constant tug-o-war with parents about giving 100% effort on their assignments. It's another gig entirely when they actually DO give an A-inspired effort.
And she did.
Just yesterday I asked her if straight A's were still her goal.
"Yes! I didn't reach it yet!" was her enthusiastic answer. No remorse. No beating herself up. No disappointment.
Just the feeling of satisfaction that SHE can set a personal goal. SHE can take the steps to reach it. And SHE can know without a doubt that she did all she could to reach it.
Welcome to 5th grade!
Do you reward for grades? Are straight A's the expectation in your home? No judgement here, ladies, just curious how different families approach the report card.
Joline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Fit With Jo, and is a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 10 and 6, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she sweats out any daily angst by running (not with sharp objects) and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.