I remember the day my oldest received her first low test grade. She was so disappointed and embarrassed. Truth be told, so was I. But I shouldn't have been. The poor girl had suffered through a really rough winter of sickness and just hadn't been able to master the material. She was trying but it wasn't sinking in. That low grade helped her to understand some of the areas where she was confused. Why did we look at it as such a terrible thing to get a low grade? How had this become so important to us? Her low score was a mirror of how well she understood the material and what she needed help with. She took that test back to her teacher, asked for help to overcome and sure enough, he worked with her and she was less confused (funny how that works). She became much more self-aware and intentional about how to improve the areas of her weaknesses rather than relying on her strengths to compensate. What a difference!
I had a change of heart, too. I realized that her success had become too important to me. I was unknowingly putting too much of an emphasis on her performance in school by my responses to her grades and expectations. I realized that cheering and clapping for her “A’s” was sending the wrong message. Why wasn't I cheering all of her best performances? It was adding unnecessary stress to her life. I asked her forgiveness for this and we both grew from the experience. She could be honest about her struggles because it was safe to talk with me about this topic. This was a great opportunity for me as a mom. I hadn't realized how I had begun to live vicariously through my daughter’s success until I was disappointed in her grade (why was it that important?). That was a turning point for us!
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
How do we learn to walk humbly? I think it starts with recognizing that we are not going to be “A” students in everything: we’re human! An honest assessment of our weaknesses can be a healthy step toward getting better. My husband is a great role model for me in this area. He possesses quiet reserve and persistence that enable him to persevere in hardship. When we acknowledge our weaknesses and ask others to help us become stronger in those areas we are demonstrating that our confidence is not in our own strength: the beginnings of humility.
In the end, it is understanding our weaknesses, and accepting our imperfection that enables us to overcome them. In doing so, we find success. A few low scores can actually be instrumental in providing feedback and setting goals. Perhaps that is why success is spelled with two c’s?
Posted on Sun, May 25, 2014
by Leslie Collins