In May 2019, my son graduated high school as Valedictorian at 17. He delivered a graduation speech and errthang. And thanks to the dual degree program offered at his high school, he graduated with his Associates Degree as Summa Cum Laude, the week before his high school graduation.
That being said, the boy works HARD for his grades. He breezes through most classes like the material is a part of his DNA… while others, he makes it a point to allocate every single cell in his body into grasping and understanding the information.
Until he got cocky.
He had two midterms scheduled back to back. I pointed out that he was focusing only on one subject and totally blowing off the other – the subject he is not the strongest at.
Joshua: I know, mom. But I’m studying this class right now. I’ll get to the other one when I have time.
Me: Okay. Your grades are your responsibility.
Joshua: I know, mom. I’ll be fine.
But when midterm scores came back, he was not fine at all. Mr. Straight As got a big fat “C” and he was DEVASTATED. Locked himself up and cried for a bit… talked to his friends about how he bombed the midterm for a few minutes… then came back to me, minus the cocky ‘tude.
Me: That “C” lowered your overall grade to a “B”. Do you understand you EARNED that grade you received on your midterm?
Me: Are you still going to earn an “A” for the final grade on your report card?
Me: What’s the plan?
Joshua: I calculated everything and I will need to get a 100% on all my homework, quizzes, and tests for the rest of the semester.
Me: Are you going to make that happen?
Now, I’d like to point out that throwing an “I TOLD YOU SO!” at the kid who was already feeling knocked down by his own doing, would NOT have been a good idea. And as much as my heart was breaking for him, freaking out – also not a good idea.
It was important that I remained composed in order to give him the mental and emotional space to properly and completely work this out for himself.
And that, he did.
He went back to re-learn the material he didn’t understand and scored a 100% in everything for the remainder of the semester. The boy received an A in Calculus… and made the Deans List that semester.
He hasn’t taken his classes for granted since then, and he continues to handle challenges and disappointments calmly and clearly…
- Acknowledge the negative emotions
- Shift back to the logical side of thinking
- Devise a recovery plan
- Do whatever it takes to make it happen.