Mum's the Word

Report cards and assessments

Posted: Nov. 30, 2017 12:01 am

Has trouble focusing and finishing her work. Very social, with a good imagination. Has trouble with scissors.

This is the summary of my kindergarten report card.

And guess what? I think this is probably the best assessment of my character to date.

As we get the report cards home and go through parent teacher conferences, this is in the back of my head.

Side note:

Weighing all the things kids can do for fine motor skills against the chances they will cut their clothes or sibling's hair, can we all just agree scissors are a bad idea for everyone?

 Anyway, moving on to their assessments:

We asses a full report of our children's strengths and weaknesses. I love a good bar graph.

Some of the things we are well aware of and other things are emerging that are more of a surprise. Unless you are a teacher, it's all relative because we have no point of reference and our children are all, clearly, geniuses. I read an article that said 80 percent of parents believe their children to be gifted. While I find this amusing, let's just all agree our children are wonderfully unique and have different gifts.

In weighing our children's "gifts" and where they are in the line up, we tend to jump into the rat race of how to improve their weaknesses.

Before I start, I'm not saying there's not room for improvement. What I am saying is that sometimes we are more focused on improving our problem areas instead of maximizing our strengths, and we are all missing the point. We are meant to be good in some areas and not in others. That's what makes us, us.

Maybe we should consider aptitude testing. I had one done in high school and they said I should go into advertising and sales. I had four kids instead, but I've got to sell the crap out of every meal I create and outfit I lay out, so you know ... worth it!

So one of the kids is not great with reading. After I shake the vision of Zoolander and the school for kids who don't read so well, I immediately think, maybe I should get them a tutor. Then I remembered I had a reading tutor when I was their age and guess what - to this day, I would much rather do anything other than read a book.

Amazingly, I was drawn to my social tendencies and ended up majoring in communications at college. Actually, I was told to pick a major my junior year and I may have flipped a coin.

Whatever. It all worked out.

I guess that's my point. It's fun to see what sort of things are emerging in our kids and watch them develop into the people they will become, but it's also important to know it will all be OK. Take comfort in knowing some of their results have absolutely nothing to do your parenting. I think of planting a mystery seed and then waiting to see what will come up. It needs water and light, but what it will be is what it is meant to be. We can make it big and strong, but a sunflower is a sunflower.

We can encourage them, but ultimately they have personalities and gifts that will determine a lot. As long as they are proficient in their weaknesses, I'm happy to support their strengths.

My end thoughts ...

1. It doesn't matter how smart you are. It matters how hard you work.

2. A happy heart will take you farther than being a smart aleck.

3. Imagination can fix more than you know.

4. Know your strengths and weaknesses and the people who influence those.

5. Be yourself. Don't measure yourself against someone else's yardstick because you will always come up short.

And of course ... it's all going to be OK.

Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.

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