Rooney isn’t old enough to come home with a report card just yet, but I’ve been dealing with report cards for most of my life.
Whether they were tucked inside official-looking envelopes addressed to my mom and dad, the paperless competition with other girls I was tracking in my head, or the legal-size paper I passed across the table to my students’ parents during mid-term conferences, since I was a little girl I’ve personally always put a lot of emphasis on scores.
It’s not that report cards are bad, but sometimes we can get too caught up in the cumulative, weighted GPA. Sometimes I think we use report cards more than we use God’s word to help our children understand what being a person of value looks like. We leave God’s truth out of the conversation about A’s and F’s and inevitably point our children to a performance-based sense of self-worth.
What’s true though? The truth is we need constant reminders that, because of Jesus, our verdict has already been issued. That verdict says that we are redeemed, worthy, and valuable. It's not our work that makes us worth: we are worthy because He loves us. Here are three ways to approach your little belle when she’s feeling the pressure of her work being measured and weighted.
It’s not our work that makes us worthy: we are worthy because He loves us.
1. It Doesn't Tell Us The Meaning of Her Life
School is for everyone, but it is not everything. We all have a brain, and that brain is wired to learn. Being knowledgeable can be exhilarating, especially when it makes you feel important. But knowledge and intellect cannot be our heart’s most treasured pursuit. Knowledge and intellect cannot wipe us clean and make us new, only Jesus can do that.
2. It Doesn’t Tell Us Who She Is.
As a teacher, I can tell you there is no excuse for bad grades. But far from telling me that a student is worthless, a bad grade can only tell me that a student is perhaps spending too much time watching television, or maybe has too busy of an after school schedule. A child’s grades are indeed telling us something, but the story they’re telling is more about the child’s habits than anything else. Remember, all humans have inherent worth and value being made in the image of God. Remind her that nothing she can do can ever take that away.
3. It Doesn’t Tell Us If She’s Valuable.
Her grades will offer the first lessons she’ll learn in economy. Often times she’ll find that she can trade good grades for trust, favor, and opportunity. She’ll translate these lessons as proof that she is a recipient worthy of people’s approval because of what those grades say about her. But as we’ve already discussed, the only one qualified to speak on behalf of your daughter’s identity is God. The work that He’s done to bring her life meaning and measurable value was already done on the cross.
The only one qualified to speak on behalf of your daughter’s identity is God.
We have a responsibility as mothers to teach our girls that that we don’t do good to get God’s love. We get God’s love, and that propels us to do good. Grades are important, but we have to be careful not to put so much emphasis on our children’s grades that they think their report card is the thing that trumps all. It’s not their homework; it’s their heart that matters. And it’s only when they’re so filled up with identity, love and approval that they’ll strive to be good students out of an overflow of acceptance instead of a lack of it.
We don't do good to get God's love. We get God's love and that propels us to do good.
Erin Weidemann is a teacher turned professional author and speaker. A former college athlete, Erin is also a five-time cancer survivor. She lives in Encinitas, California with her husband Brent and their daughter Rooney. Alongside her husband, she is the co-founder of Bible Belles, a company that helps girls discover real beauty through the female heroes of the Bible.
Leave a comment