The kids got their report cards this week. I will admit, I get a wee bit nervous when I know they are coming. I pretty much know how they are doing based on the papers that are sent home every week. I know that Matthew hates math but is a whiz a reading. I know Caroline is a whiz at just about everything but usually rushes through to make sure she is the FIRST ONE DONE and therefore makes careless mistakes. I know Ellie continues to struggle with reading but tries her darndest and is also a whiz at math! I assume my kids are above average to average in behavior because I have yet to hear from the principal :) But still, I worry...because that is what I do. My kids are also anxious to find out how they are measuring up. They scan those cards for their scores. In our school the kids are graded with the measurements of three standards, LPS(limited progression towards standards)
PS( progressing toward standards) and MS (Meets Standard). Matthew wants all MS's but to be honest, he is fine with a PS or two. Caroline is very dismayed if she gets anything other than all MS's. And Ellie, she's pretty much clueless about this grading business and just carries on with her bright, happy, determined attitude. The Simpson kids have some LS's on their cards this semester. At first I was irritated when I saw it. To be honest, I felt it reflected poorly on me as a parent. It's as if the LS is saying.."Yes, Jeff and Susan Simpson, your child is sucking at this and really, it is ALL YOUR FAULT." But, as I gave myself sometime to process it and think about the areas where my child is still limited in their progression, I found that limited progress is still progress as long as you're still moving towards meeting whatever standards are set before you. Ellie may have a received a LS in one aspect of reading but girlfriend is rocking out other areas! In this day and age of the tremendous pressure to always be above average at absolutely everything you do, it can be very tempting to feel overwhelmed by all of the ways in which you just don't measure up. Whether that be in math, reading or we can carry that over into our adult lives where impossible standards can drive a mommy bonkers! I can't do it all, I can't be it all. What I have learned in my forty plus years of living and holding myself to impossible standards is that you miss so many opportunities when the standards you are trying to obtain are not worthy of your time and energy.
Now, don't get me wrong, I recognize that my children need to learn that you do need to strive to meet the highest standard possible. I want Ellie to be good a reading so she can experience the joy of getting lost in the story of a great book! I want Caroline to learn that being first is not everything and being mindful will serve her well in so many things other than academics. I want Matthew to feel good about himself despite the struggles he faces daily due to his cerebral palsy.
I want Jeff and I to make choices for ourselves and our family that help encourage behaviors that lend themselves to the kids being successful students. Reading time that is relaxed, family game nights, less screen time, less yelling, less busyness. There are many areas where the Simpsons would certainly score a limited progress towards standards! But, there are many areas where we are certainly PROGRESSING. Regular church attendance, regular volunteering at church, small group and book clubs with friends who share our same values. Filling our times with things that are good and help us progress not limit us in being all we are meant to be! That can be hard as old habits die so very hard. (Especially if you are Mommy Simpson). But, one of the most important lessons I want my children to remember from their childhood is that you will always be loved, no matter how you measure up against the standards our family has set forth. We can't always meet expectations. We screw up. We believe in grace and forgiveness and always in the power of tomorrow being an opportunity to turn it all around.