I remember as a child my dad telling me that what mattered to him on my report card was getting a good grade in citizenship. That was more important to him than all my other grades. I don’t know if that is true in other families, but it does raise the question: How important is it to get good grades in school? What pressure do children face to get good grades? What happens if they don’t?
Of course all students want to do well in school and succeed. No one attends school with the desire to fail. Yet the pressure to get good grades I think is real. Kids need to have at least a 3.0 average in grades to get into college; a GPA under that can be a problem. For students on a medical or law school path, the 3.0 GPA won’t get you into college. The pressure to do well on ACT and SAT tests is also a factor impacting on whether someone gets into a “good” college.
Is this “pressure” to do well a good thing? A lot of that depends upon what is behind this pressure. I think if a student’s self worth is wrapped up in whether they succeed academically, then this can become a problem. It is not the end of the world if students can’t maintain a 3.5 GPA or better. Does it make a difference if the pressure is coming from within the student or from a parent? A lot of this depends upon how this affects a student’s ability to function socially and interact with others. The failure to succeed academically can result in substance or drug abuse; in depression or thoughts of suicide, or isolation from others. The worst combination can be a student who puts pressure upon him or herself along with pressure coming from parents. This is likely to contribute to some of the above-mentioned symptoms. Next week I would like to continue speaking on this topic and offer some possible solutions or alternative ways of thinking about this.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
The unworthy +Paul