Life is More Than a Report Card

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What are Parent Teacher Conferences like for your family? How do you encourage your kids to be the best they can be?

Parent Teacher Conferences.

You either go into them knowing what the teacher is going to say or you are totally blown away {and that isn’t always a good thing}.

We recently had our first conferences with a junior high student. We had short meetings with not only one teacher, but five. Five different reviews, five different lists of assignments, five different websites we needed to check on a weekly basis, five different personalities, five different sets of standards. As my husband took notes of missing assignments, tests to retake, or books to look into for our son to read, I sat there listening; slowly seeping into a mommy-guilt pit filled with questions like, “How the heck am I going to keep up with him let alone our other two younger kids?!”

{Side note: I went back to work full time outside of my home about a year ago.  We still have not yet adjusted completely.}

At heart, I am a planner, a scheduler, a problem solver. I tried to think of a better schedule for him, a goal to work towards, something that would drive him to want to be more productive in school. Do I buy more planners? Do I take over his daily chores so that he has more time for homework? Do I cook less and drive-thru more to save time at night? What am I lacking to help him succeed??

And then, shockingly, they all said this:

“He’s a wonderful kid.”

“He is so respectful in class. He gets along with everyone.”

“He has a great personality.”

“I know he has the potential. He’s so bright.”

“I am sure you know this already, but he’ a great kid.”

And the best one:

“You’re doing a great job as parents. Let’s just figure out how to gently steer him in the right direction.”

Enter sigh of relief.

I wasn’t a complete failure. I wasn’t the World’s Worst Working Mother. Better yet, we have confirmation from FIVE DIFFERENT ADULTS that we are raising a respectful, kind, well rounded young man. There’s more to life than report cards. I have to keep reminding myself of that. God doesn’t keep a report card on me {WHEW!!} or anyone else in my family. God loves us despite our shortcomings. He wants us to come to Him just the way we are; A’s or D’s.  Our worth doesn’t come from essays or book reports. It comes from what He has already done for us. We are God’s children and because of Him, we are already enough.

Pre-Grace me would have come home and said some pretty hurtful things to my son.  Luckily, my husband and I have accepted grace into our family and are approaching this like it’s NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. We are approaching this with grace, love and encouragement.  Surprisingly, we had a very calm and productive talk with our teenage son.  We have set a schedule, goals, and encouraged him to ask questions and to speak to his teachers if he needs assistance. We are helping to teach him life-long skills, not just shoving more homework down his throat.

The night could have ended a lot differently if it weren’t for grace.

How about you? What are Parent Teacher Conferences like for your family? How do you encourage your kids to be the best they can be?

-Written by Jenny Gillepsie

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