Just when I was about to come down hard on my oldest son for his slipping grades, we got to the root of the problem, which I wonder if it is a problem at all. Except for the first quarter of the school year, his grades have somewhat ping-ponged. The final grades for each quarter have been more than adequate – B’s and A’s – but interlaced through the quarter have been D’s and F’s on homework assignments.
I have to keep my mouth shut, trusting my initial message to him that I don’t worry so much about homework grades, as it should be where you practice and determine on what you need more work. But some of those grades….they really have been testing my patience, and my own beliefs in how he should be approaching school.
After an enjoyable dinner we were sitting at the table and he brought up what else was going on in his life. He’s been helping two girls in his grade with two very difficult issues: one suffers from anxiety / panic attacks, and the other is a cutter. Yes, you read right. And yes, seventh grade.
I paused and looked at this young man who has been texting and taking time out of his life to be a good friend, to help his friends, who happen to be girls, to safely get through challenging times in their lives.
Of course the conversation came around to making sure he was talking to adults a little more often than he has, that some of the issues he’s trying to help his friends through are a littler larger than your typical 13 year-old is able to handle, but in that moment whether his academic performance was or is 99% of his ability or 85% of his ability became inconsequential.
I’ll take 85% of his efforts in school any day if he’s using all of that extra effort to be a good human being.