What can families do to promote good attitudes towards good grades? First and most important is for families to foster a Christ-centered spiritual life in the home. This would mean a commitment to live by the Beatitudes of Christ as taught on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapters 5 to 7. This is more important than academic knowledge. This along with encouraging a consistent life of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving will go a long ways to forming youth of good character. It is more important for a person in a job interview to demonstrate integrity and honesty rather than simply knowledge. Good grades are important but not as much as the ability to demonstrate good interpersonal and relationship skills.
Secondly, work with children to define areas of interest and talent they have in their lives. As they seek to figure that out, don’t be afraid of letting children take risks and trying new things. They will make mistakes in the process, but that will only help them to be better at what they do with appropriate parental encouragement. Once children identify the gifts and talents that they want to further develop, it will make them more self-motivated to pursue good grades in classes, with their own growth as the driver rather than fear.
Finally, don’t script the education of children. I have a relative who went through college to become a teacher and quit after her first day on the job. Life is not about going to college for four years, getting a good job at 22, getting married by 27, and then buying a home in suburbia with a three-car garage. Many people leave the university with a degree that has nothing to do with the job they get. Some children may decide to take up a trade after school instead of going to college, or they may want to enroll in the military. Others end up going back to school and entering a 2nd career in their late 30’s or early 40’s. The more we can match a child’s talent with what they need to learn to further develop that talent, the more good grades will take care of themselves. The problem with scripts is that once we step outside the script, then it implies failure.
I think what my Dad taught me about school still makes the most sense to me. Be a good citizen; work by the grace of God on being a good person.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
The unworthy +Paul