Bragging Rights

This year my oldest daughter entered high school. The school had several orientation meetings for parents and students about what they could expect in the upcoming years. At the beginning of these meetings the principal would get up and say a few words about the school’s academic record and how well the students have done on their ACT and SAT scores. This year our school earned the nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. An honor that is not bestowed on many schools.

I am glad that my children will be attending a school that has such an impressive record and yet as I sat there, listening to the principal talk about all the wonderful grades and how smart all the students were, I couldn’t help but think of my youngest daughter. I started thinking of those bumper stickers you often see; “My kid is on the honor roll”. I started thinking about the Facebook updates your friends might post: “I’m so proud of my kid, s/he got all A’s. S/he’s so smart!”

It’s not that I don’t think these people don’t have a right to brag about their child’s accomplishments, but sometimes I think, “So what.” Is being smart the only measure of success? Not everyone has the ability to make all A’s, even if they try very hard. Others can practically make all A’s in their sleep. Intelligence is something we are born with. It is a talent or a strength. The fact that a child is born with a higher IQ than another doesn’t make them better. Just smarter. Just as a child who is athletic is not better than the child who is not.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be proud of our children when they do well in school. I don’t think we shouldn’t brag if our kid is super smart or gets all A’s. I know these kids work really hard for those grades. However, there are so many things we can brag about with our kids and book learning is just a small portion of it.

Peanut is never going to have all A’s. As she gets older, she will start to fall behind her classmates in school work. However, Peanut is smart in many ways other than academics. She is a master at reading people. She knows how to get her way and who to target to get it. She has the ability to brighten a room just by walking into it. She has an infectious smile. She is a social butterfly and has many friends. She is a good dancer.

Even though I probably won’t be getting one of those; “My kid beat up your honor student” bumper stickers, I still have much to brag about. We all do, regardless of our child’s academic success.

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