It’s report card time and my daughter tells me her grades as usual. She’s in honors classes and in a special program at her school. I rarely ask to look at her report card because I trust she is telling me the truth. I have never had any reason not to trust her concerning grades. A food student. An honor student. Let me say, she’s in high school and from elementary to middle school, she has happily or hesitantly (at times) shared her grades. I’ve always looked at report cards up until her last year in middle school. So, it just got to the point where I rarely asked. Especially, since we don’t have to sign them anymore.
But, this morning when I woke up the Holy Spirit urged me to ask to see her report card. I did. I knew when it took her a while to hand it to me there was a problem. I prepared myself by telling myself to remain calm, remain silent, until you find the right words to express your emotions. She handed me the card and I could not believe what I saw. Her grades had dropped in two classes and she did not tell me. She lied.
I let my emotions run the gamut before I spoke. After expressing how I felt about the grades, the lie, and that I needed to think on the consequences, I asked her why didn’t you tell me the truth? I have trusted you to be honest about your grades as we have never had a problem with honesty in this area. She said, “I did not want to disappoint you. So I lied.” Then asked her why are you crying? I am not fussing. I am speaking calmly. She answered, “Because I am disappointed in myself. I tried. But, it seems I would do good on the lessons, but not on the tests. Now, I am worried about college.” She is in the 10th grade. I explained to my child the importance of asking for help, noticing when you need help, and communicating with her teacher and me when she needs help. My daughter is shy. She is less shy than she has been in the past only because of my extreme pushing. I know because I was extremely shy and it took me forever to be bold and to build courage. It did not come until my middle young adult years. I want her to be bold and courageous early. I spent half a year in school, in math class, unable to see the board. It was not until my teacher asked me “You seem to always ask questions after I finish board work or your board work has more errors than the lessons I give you. Can you see the board?” My answer was no. She was alarmed. “Why didn’t you tell me? Have you told your parents?” My response, “No ma’am.” They were upset, but suspected nothing because I was an A and B student (mostly) and always managed to be placed up front or ask a friend “What does that say on the board?” When asked why didn’t you tell us I had the perfect answer “I don’t know.” The optometrist was shocked. He showed my parents through the lenses what I had been seeing all of these years. Plus, getting your eyes checked was not something my parents thought to do. We were certainly taken to the doctor and dentist more than I cared to be!
Parenting, is not easy. Parenting is not something you get to run and hide from. It is not something you can ignore. There is no one size fit all child. However, a good parent means stepping up to the plate, uncertain, unsure, but taking a swing at it…over and over. Learning yourself, what works and what does not. Looking at your child through unfiltered lenses and knowing they may be just like you or nothing like you and dealing with them accordingly. She was trying to “handle it herself” not knowing, just like a teenager, yet trying to be adult, which is something we want them to do…grow up! Be responsible, yet not realizing asking for help or being honest is being responsible. Sigh. I am making contact with the teachers and seeing what can be done. This is responsible parenting. This was a teaching moment for the both of us and I am still debating the consequences.
The best graduation gift you could give your child is the gift of letting them be what they want to be and not what you want them to be. I mean, haven’t we learned from the movies and real stories of others? The tragedy of you wanting them to be what YOU THINK they would be good at or what would be a SAFE BET to bring them financial gain or worse, what you wanted to be but never did achieve.
Take it from a victim of this. Even if it comes out of concern, you’re destroying someone’s dream. Your child’s dream. You’re creating insecurity and fear and self doubt, pushing them into a life long career that they will hate or despise the rest of their lives. Unless they wake up 20 years later and say I hate this! I’m going to Africa or I’m opening the flower shop I always wanted to open. Or worse, they’ll quit mid semester and wonder aimlessly from job to job trying to figure out what to do. Anything but what you told them not to do or be. Hopefully, they discover they should just be that!
Give your child the gift to choose their path and then give them another gift of unwavering support as they navigate the waters of adulthood. They’ll change their minds several times but don’t you waver in your support. Just guide if they get too far off course but never push them out the way and steer their ship of dreams.
Sunday Morning Musing With Coffee 🍵
P.S. IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CALL AND TELL THEM YOU WERE WRONG. THEY SHOULD BE WHAT THEY DESIRE IN THEIR HEART TO BE!