Report cards were a terrifying thing growing up. Not so much praised for good grades, as in, not at all. With a whole lot of consequences for poor ones. By poor, I mean B- or C. Listen, I am all for motivation and praise and consequence. But those components of my youth were disproportionately skewed. While I believe my personality lends itself to anxiety and depression, I am pretty sure pressures like this led to me losing my shit while in high school. My stress and anxiety were unreal and ignored or, even worse, mocked. So I also never learned how to deal with them. Fast forward a million years, I have an amazing tool kit and I am hell bent on sharing them with my kids to help them amass their own.
Tristan is much like me. He thinks of things in unusual ways. Not incorrect but not necessarily the way he is taught or is more common. He wants things to be done well the first time. He is hard on himself. Which causes him to get frustrated easily and either dissolve into tears or throw something. I feel you, fam. We work hard on working through these intense emotions and the weight we feel appropriate to give his school work. It's a process.
Bogen kinda breezes through things. He thinks in a more expected way which makes school for him a bit easier. He also is generally more carefree. Things roll off his back which makes needing to do things more than once largely inconsequential. Don't get me wrong. He is human and his general reaction to frustration is throwing things or ripping things up. Again, I feel you, fam. But these episodes are more sparse as he is just a different kid.
As a former teacher, Type A achiever, glutton for praise, lover of stickers and sucker for a progress report, report cards are a double-edged sword for me. I want the boys to know their importance. I want them to value the true importance of effort, success, learning from failure, growth and meeting appropriate grade-level benchmarks. But, really, I want them to not be assholes. I want them to be kind and thoughtful. I want them to be helpful and empathetic. I want them to be a good friend. To stay true to who they are. To help others be true to themselves. I mean, I want them to be a good human.
Report cards indicate they are. All of those things. Kind, friendly, helpful, hardworking and fun/ny. Those are the tenants that make my heart sing. Those are the sentences I devour and the remarks I share with the boys and praise. Tristan's teacher came up to me at year's end to tell me how very much she enjoyed him in class. How he lit it up and would often put a smile on her face. As a teacher? Those interactions don't happen always. Seeking out a parent to say those things.
I beamed with pride. I heaped praise on Tristan. The same with Bogen when his marks came home. I know a lot of it is personality. I know some of it is the modeling they see in our home and with our framily. My kids aren't assholes. At least this year. I consider that a resounding parenting success.