Is my kid a 7, a 6 or a 5 - and does it matter?

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"The strive for academic excellence certainly has its place, but why do we not celebrate the smaller victories?"
"The strive for academic excellence certainly has its place, but why do we not celebrate the smaller victories?"

During the hard lockdown, one thing I realised was that we rely on our teachers far too much, and yes, we should be doing more at home, but (and it is a big but) what came with this was high levels of competitiveness. 

Is my kid a 7, a 6 or a five – according to the codes provided by our education department? Is my child good enough? What have I, as a parent, taken into account?

Why do we not celebrate the smaller victories?

Maybe this existed way before lockdown, but now it has become a serious issue.

The strive for academic excellence certainly has its place, but why do we not celebrate the smaller victories? Is the 7 for you? Or is it actually for your child?

It is a question I have been asking myself a lot. I know my child is smart and I know children develop abilities at different stages.

I understand that children should keep up with their group, but does that mean they have to achieve the top grade? Are we not doing our children a disservice?

Do I leave it, or do I push him...?  

My son, according to me, did super well this term, but he walked in on me looking at the list of the top performers in his grade and he was devastated.

His 7 was not high enough to make the cut for the top list. How do we make kids believe that they are not defined by a code on their report? 

He cried for days. His solace now, and I am not going to say a word, is that maybe they 'left his name off the list'.

Do I leave it, or do I push him even harder in term 2, reiterating that 'if you want it, you must work harder'? 

I ask myself why? For what? And to the detriment of this child, who clearly is quite fine?

Also see: Education interrupted: Time to talk about the future of our children

Their abilities are different

We then should also look at sport, academic codes and cultural codes. All of this counts towards whether they get accepted to the high school of their choice, but their abilities are different.

I would rather my child was a decent human than that he can score a soccer goal or hit a six on a cricket pitch.

How many matriculants do we have who were distinction fiends and in their first year of varsity stumbled because parrot learning does not equate to university learning? The devastation must be epic.

Why do we continue to define our children by these measures? Surely there are other factors to consider. But how to make our kids ok with this is another story.

Also read: Anxiety at school: Helping your child survive and thrive

"We should celebrate our kids"

I was not sporty, I was not an A student, but I can promise you I worked my arse off for everything I have today. I was always consistent and I worked extremely hard.

My parents were always happy with my progress during school though I only got my first real big  'A' when it counted as far as I am concerned. I got a cum laude for my honours journalism course which I was seriously passionate about.

It defined my career and I am better for it.

So why am I so incredibly hard on my son? I have no doubt he will find a groove for himself, and he will excel, but I keep comparing him to other kids.

It is wrong, but I find I cannot help but feel as though I am failing him somewhere along the line.

For now, I will take my lead from what his teachers are doing, but I still do maintain that we as parents should celebrate all our kids, especially at this time. We have no idea of what is happening and what access kids have had. 

Celebrate your child's code 5 and their 6 - a 7 is a bonus! It does not define you, as a learner or as a parent.


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