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Image2sunset“Success in not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” by Winston Churchill.

What if you don’t succeed?

As a teacher, the three most common questions I was asked by students were:

“Is it on the test?”

“Are we doing anything today?”

“Is this a good grade?”

The answers:

“Yes – it’s a cumulative course – everything is on the test.”

I tried “no” a few times but teenagers’ brains haven’t developed enough to grasp sarcasm. So I switched to “Today’s agenda is on the board and of course we are doing something today.”

Is this a good grade? Now here’s a topic worthy of an entire blog – not just a post. My answer to my kids was always – “You have to decide that – some kids with a test grade of 75% would hang it on the fridge at home for the family to see. Others would hide it hoping no one would ever find out.

When I looked at my son’s report card, I always looked at his effort report first. I might question a teacher as to what my son could do to improve but I was rarely displeased with a member of my own profession. BUT at a time my child was dealing with being dyslexic and not labeled for it – his report card came home with an N3 in reading – this was the lowest academic and effort grade possible. N for Not Satisfactory — was fine – but the 3? – basically making no effort – this required a discussion. When I asked the teacher to explain – I was told that we both knew my son couldn’t read. I agreed. But why the 3? The teacher’s response was N and 3 ALWAYS went together. And so I asked if my son’s effort in class, his extra reading classes during school and his private tutoring session an hour before school started counted for any effort at all. The hanging open mouth of my colleague meant I had brought about a light bulb moment.  

Image1cloudsThe epiphany wasn’t just for the other teacher it was for me as a teacher. I often spoke to my students about getting their grades up. With knowledge comes wisdom and with wisdom comes change.

Or not.

Image1helicopterWhen I told my students to put the emphasis on effort and learning and the grade would follow – their response virtually 100% of time – “Can you tell my parents that? The grade may not be important to you, but it’s REALLY important to them.”

Would you hire a person that was brilliant but did nothing or a person that had an average intelligence but was passionate about learning new things and gave 100% effort? Me? I’m going with choice B. 

In the US culture the words love and enable have become almost synonymous when it involves our children. But this topic is a whole series in itself. If you want my advice after two decades of successes and failures as a parent and teacher, let me know and I will go there.

Image14crowToday’s Intention: Allow the other person to make the effort and acknowledge it rather than being the one to swoop in and control the situation. And embrace what I can learn from my failures because they are the guideposts leading the way to my successes. 

If today you’ve decided to give up on love because you’ve failed so many times… look back at how much effort you REALLY put into the relationship. Look at the pattern in the “failures”, what have you learned from them? Are you expecting the other person to be your parent and supply all the love and nurturing? Or are you the “helicopter parent” with either your child or your mate or even your employees — always hovering and circling waiting to take over the situation so that they do not know the sadness or disappointment of failure? Take it from a reformed enabler — other people will not only survive they will thrive without us controlling every nuance of their lives. Join me today in not commenting on how well someone did, but rather how much effort they put in. As always let me now what you think!

Love,

Colleen

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