A candy bar used to cost 25 cents, but now costs 89 cents. A loaf of Wonder bread used to cost $1.59, but is now $3.59. Receiving a “C” on your report card showed your parents you were average. Now a “B” has become the new “C”. In fact, a “B” has become known as a failing grade in some communities.
We are living in an era of grade inflation and high anxiety. Questions such as, “Is a 4.4 a high enough G.P.A. to get into my choice college?” are actually being posed in a serious manner. As far as grade inflation goes, earning a “B” is perceived as failure to some, simply because it’s not an “A”.
Since when did an 88 become a failing grade? It’s because of the culture we live in. Every child gets a trophy regardless of how many games they’ve won or lost, and at birthday parties the favors have become what once was a gift given to the honoree.
It’s become a culture of “Keeping up with the Jones’” taken to the extreme. And for some, it now includes parents applying pressure on their child to get all As, or even the child putting the pressure on herself because she thinks that is what is expected. Do you remember the child who really is not stellar in the academics, but earns a C using the best of his ability and greatest efforts and was made to feel proud of himself? Neither do I.
When I was in high school I rarely had to study. I was in all advanced classes, took the SATs in 7th grade, and was accepted into Penn State—the only school I applied to, by the way.
It wasn’t until I got to Penn State that I realized I had to study to earn my grades. It was a tough lesson. I got my first “F” ever on a project, a project I had thrown together at the last minute and it showed. Not only did I have to redo the project, I was thoroughly embarrassed as to what this teacher now thought about who I was as a person. Luckily, my first “F” was also when I learned an important life lesson.
The real world had stepped in to show me how this bad outcome was actually very necessary to my learning. The points off on this project and the fact that I had to redo the project was a priceless lesson I had to learn. Plus, I was given automatic feedback in relation to the outcome.
This important lesson is missed when all too often parents try to step in and take charge of their child’s homework, or try to negotiate their grade. When someone corrects and reads the homework or project and manages it, the child misses out on learning that there is a relationship between his efforts and his outcome. Depriving our children of this lesson does not bode well for the future leaders of our country.
As all adults know,there will come a time when eventually, there is no one to step in and take charge. If we don’t allow our children to experience failure or missteps, what kind offuture generation are we creating?
What to do is simple—allow your child to make the mistakes, to fall on their face, and to earn a B-. It’s not the end of the world when any of these things happen. In fact, when they do, as a parent you can show them that you are there to support them in times like these. There is always a lesson to be learned.
It is taking advantage of these examples that will lead our children to become the critical thinking problem solvers that will someday lead our country. And who knows, maybe because of this, bread will only be $4.29 20 years from now instead of $10.