I strongly dislike getting “Progress Reports” from my kids’ school.
I pretty much already know what they will say even before I slide the papers from their official looking envelopes.
One of my children will be told repeatedly, in numerous ways and technical terminology, that “they” are the ideal student…eager to learn, to contribute, to be creative, to work well with others, etcetera to infinity.
In fact, I do not even need to have a parent-teacher interview with this child’s teacher because (and this is a direct written quote from the teacher on the interview request form) this child is “utterly brilliant and completely delightful.” (Which is 100% true, of course!)
My other child’s progress report reads pretty much exactly the opposite…doesn’t participate much in class, extremely disorganized, lack of focus and motivation, etcetera to infinity. The front page of the report reads Needs Improvement so many times that I have to carefully look for words like “great ideas when asked” and “curiosity for learning” so as not to be defeated in my own heart for this child. It was no surprise that a parent-teacher interview was requested with me before the report cards even came home.
And here is my dilemma: it really doesn’t seem right to extol the one child for the high praise being lavished upon “them” and to punish/withhold praise from the other, even though the progress reports are polar opposites.
Because BOTH of my kids are actually “utterly brilliant and completely delightful.”
And because BOTH of my kids actually need improvement.
We all do….We are all sinners saved only by the incredible grace of Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24 “22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
But we are still works in progress, working out His Presence in every area of our lives.
Philippians 2:12-13 ” continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
I feel like through my kids report cards I am mirroring my own spiritual journey. I am truly all over the map. I see and get defeated by my own “Needs Improvement”s and barely “Satisfactory”s all over the pages of my life. I see my failings, my shortcomings my never-enoughs. I focus too easily and too often on my deficiencies.
But if I am willing to look a bit closer, I am able to say, Praise and thanks be to God! There has already been improvement! He is changing me! I am not what I was! I am not what I am going to be! I am not what I would be without Jesus!
And I can hear Him say to me, “Carrie, you are utterly brilliant and completely delightful.”
But then, “Let’s meet about your areas with room to grow.”
And it changes my perspective when I realize that the meeting isn’t to punish me and to point out all of my imperfections, it’s to encourage MORE GROWTH.
So that Parent-Teacher interview thing-y later today?
I get it now. That teacher and I are on the same page. We both want more growth for this child, this utterly brilliant, completely delightful child. And we are going to not be defeated in spirit over this child’s grades on a page.
We are going to keep seeing beyond to what WILL BE.