A few weeks ago, I received an email from my daughter’s 5th grade teacher informing me that there would be an awards assembly the following week and my daughter would be getting an award. She would be getting an award on the Silver Honor Roll this time, instead of the Gold Honor Roll because she got a “B” in math. I was a little confused, because the day before, my daughter had been looking up her grades on Edline and noticed she had a “B” in Social Studies, but “A’s” in everything else. Oh well, same end results either way.
I know my daughter. She would not be happy with Silver Honor Roll. I am pausing here for a minute, because I am wondering just how crazy that sounds. There are kids who would be thrilled to get the kind of grades it takes to make the Silver Honor Roll. There are kids who would be thrilled to make the grades it takes to almost make the Silver Honor Roll (They don’t have Bronze at her school). But I knew she would be upset about this turn of events, so I prepared ahead of time how I was going to tell her. I wanted to prevent an emotional melt down. Stop laughing –I still believe they can occasionally be prevented–let me keep my fantasy! So I started with the “Good News.”
When she came home from school that day this is what I said: “I got an email from your teacher today. She said there’s going to be an awards assembly next Thursday.” She immediately threw herself onto my bed and began sobbing hysterically. “But, you’re getting an award!” I offered.
“But I’m not (sob!) going to be (sob!) on the Gold Honor Roll!” More sobbing ensued.
“The Silver Honor Roll is still an honor! We’re very proud of you!”
“But now I can never be on the Platinum Honor Roll because of that “B” in Social Studies!” More sobbing.
“What’s the Platin–oh.” I got it. The Platinum Honor Roll. You get that at the end of the school year if you’ve made the Gold Honor Roll the previous two trimesters. That little extra incentive for the student to keep their grades up consistently. “Wait a minute,” I remembered, “Your teacher said you got that “B” in Math, not Social Studies.”
“No, I saw it yesterday,” she responded, “I have an “A” in Math. The “B” is Social Studies.”
“Let’s Look it up.”
So look it up we did, and there it was: She had straight “A’s” in all of her subjects. I emailed her teacher asking about this. Her teacher responded with an apology, explaining that the “B” in Math was a typo from her math teacher, and she ended up giving my daughter one extra point in Social Studies which bumped her grade up to an “A.” So, she would be getting the Gold Honor Roll award after all.
When I told my husband about our little crisis, he just put his hand over his heart and said (almost tongue in cheek) “Well, thank GOD!”
I had to admit, deep inside, when my daughter was sobbing over not being on Gold Honor Roll, even though she was still going to be on the Silver Honor Roll, I felt a little bit proud and also strangely relieved. It looked to me that she might follow the academic path of her older sister, rather than her older brother. It won’t be likely that we’ll ever have to beg, plead and cajole homework assignments out of her. At least she cares! On the other hand, we’ll need to find ways to help her realize it isn’t the end of the world if she does a “B” from time to time.
But how do we do this? How do we balance her intense reactions to what she perceives as failures, while still wanting to encourage her to keep her grades up?