Everyday Spectacular

Imperfections. Ramblings. Life to the Full.

Needs Improvement

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.


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3 thoughts on “Needs Improvement

  1. Corinne Storms on said:

    What a great reminder. I was the kid who constantly had, “She would do so much better if she talked less and applied herself more”. I think the teachers passed that ‘quote’ to whichever teacher had me next in their class. :o) However, I am in sales and went to school to be an ECE so my years of ‘learning how to talk’ has come in handy. That being said, I love the correlation to the way God our “Father AND teacher” see’s us…as we “all do need’ those spiritual progress checks. Helps us stay on track, or move a bit more into ‘the proper grooves’. The only difference is the teacher may ‘Scowl’…but Our Father opens His arms and Says, “I love you” Keep following my lead.

  2. Wow… Wonderful read for today 🙂
    Thank for the inspirational reminder of our constant need for his wonder working power in our everyday lives Carrie. Keep up the good writing!!

  3. I loved reading this. I fear for the child who does not get an interview because as you say we all need areas of growth. You have two beautiful, “individual” human beings being asked to fit into the “same” standardized mold our society has created as “the” perfect direction for learning.
    It would be amazing if your two beautiful “individuals” could write their own progress report right back to their teachers on the teaching methods and styles and systems used to mold them.
    I would predict that the “needs improvement” child would have a lot to say about the improvements needed to help survive and thrive the school year. And you would be giving praise for that wisdom. And the “utterly brilliant” child would have a blank page.

    From a hockey coaching perspective, I believe a good coach makes the weak players better and the strong players better. We fail when at the end of the season the better players are still the same and the weaker players are now better.
    Your “needs improvement” player/student will learn how to overcome obstacles in life while your “uterly brilliant” player/student will eventually hit a weak patch and fall apart – or be given help by the one who learned how to improve.
    Don’t let the evaluator, coach, teacher or yourself as a parent, off the hook – be sure your “utterly brilliant” child is challenged to excell at the same rate as the one who “needs improvement”!

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