Less than stellar test scores & report cards don’t define you as a parent.

As the end of the year rolls around, standardized test scores are trickling in (at least in Georgia) & report cards all over the nation will be handed out soon. If your child’s scores are out of this world, congratulations. If you are a parent of a child whose scores are average, or less than stellar, read on.

1.   Your child’s grades do not define you as a parent. In a test score driven & performance-based society, it can be easy to get sucked into believing that you’ve failed as a parent if your child doesn’t do well in school. Granted, there is a time & a place to help your child through academic struggles by getting the help they need, but your child’s performance in school is such a small reflection in the bigger picture of who you are as a parent. You are a comforter, nurse, cheerleader, therapist, teacher, disciplinarian, nurturer, tutor, peanut butter & jelly-maker & the list goes on infinitely longer. 

2.  Your child’s test scores do not define who they are as a person. Academic tests only test academics. They only measure literacy, math, and in some cases, social studies & science. The spectrum of intelligence is so wide & deep, that your child may not fit into one of these categories. One person might be “book smart,” compared to another who is musically or artistically gifted.  As my mother would say, “We all get something, but no one gets the whole pot.”

3.   Sometimes “good” is good enough. Again, I can hear my mother in my head. She lived by these words as she raised her three daughters alongside my Dad. She offered so much grace through my many academic struggles as a child & she continues to encourage me with these same words in my parenting journey. It really was one of her biggest parenting themes. She has always said, “If the your child is trying their best, what more can you ask for?” She also reminds me that there is nothing wrong with average. Parents can push their children into thinking they need to be in every Advanced Placement course offered. WHY??? There is enough pressure our children have to face. Do they really need this on top of everything else?

As a previous Educator in the public school system, some kids just won’t “get it” right now.  The light bulb may not turn on until further down the road.  In reality, some kids will just have to work harder than others to “get it.” Some children have more limitations than others. Accept their limitations, embrace their strengths, be patient, advocate for them when necessary, & encourage them along their journey.

4.  Test scores are no indicator of your child’s future. Yes, this even applies to the parents whose children have out-performed everyone else’s. Test scores are no measure of future success. We’ve all witnessed straight A students tank when they get out into the real world,  &  those who struggled all through school FLOURISH. 

We also need to be on-guard when “snowball thinking” begins.  It starts with a small thought such as; “My child didn’t do well on their report card/standardized test. Now they are going to continue to struggle & will get behind.” Then it snowballs into bigger issues like; “They won’t get into college & will end up with a dead-end job.” Our children certainly do not need life-sentences like that & they will live up to whatever we believe about them.

5.  God has a purpose & a plan for your child & every single person on this earth. Now, whether you choose to follow Jesus or not, He still has a purpose to come into relationship with you as Savior of your life. Once that happens, He has a very specific purpose & plan for you. Our children also have a very specific purposes & plans for their lives. So often we have a vision for what we think our children’s futures need to look like.   Even if it’s a good vision, it’s still our vision, not theirs, and most importantly, it’s more-than-likely not the Lord’s.

Every child has their own unique gifts & talents that will unfold little by little throughout their lives. The Lord has a purpose & plan for your child & it may look nothing like the vision you have for them. Honestly, it probably will look nothing like your vision, so be open to what their future holds & what God has for them. Their purpose & plan is specific to them & for them. The possibilities are endless, so don’t try to put them in a box! Definitely keep molding & shaping them, but don’t waste your time trying to put a square peg into a round hole, because let’s face it, it just won’t fit.  Allow the Lord to do His work.   After all, He’s so much better at it than we are.