Report cards are an enigma to me now that I inhabit the adult sphere. I know there are numerous indicators of achievement in our adult lives, and we get ‘report cards’ of a different sort, but I am increasingly concerned about the way report cards affect children. Children start very early gathering markers of their performance: that first soccer trophy, the perfect attendance award, a straight A’s report card.
It is a difficult thing NOT to put so much focus on report cards and all the other external markers of our children’s success, but I think we should try harder to follow some of my grandmother’s advice and focus on our children’s interior self. The children who learn early to cultivate their inner definition of success and to listen to that inner voice are the children who succeed with their own gifts and talents. These are the kids who don’t need a report card to tell them they “stink in math and rock in PE class…and OK, pretty decent in reading.” These kids know. They just need permission not to be great at everything.
Markus Buckingham is a well known speaker who has a wonderful take on the inner voice we hope our children hear as report cards come home at the end of the school year. Take a minute to watch, and tell us what you spend the most time talking about with your child.
You can scroll through some of his other work at the end of this short video clip. Maybe you, too, are ready to think about where you want to spend most of your time.
Written and reviewed by Gayle Schrier Smith, MD and the
Partners In Pediatrics, PC staff.