A mother gave her 10-year-old a math test today. He spent nearly an hour and used four sheets of scratch paper. He worked on each problem with intense concentration. And then, with a deep breath, he handed it to her to be graded.

She quickly worked my way through the test and calculated his score.

“It’s an 89,” she said, “that’s a high B.”

Immediately, his eyes filled with tears. He had done his best work, given his greatest effort, and had still come up short.

She looked at my boy and back down at his paper. And then ripped it in half. Here is what she said:

I am more concerned with his ability to learn

I am more concerned with the character that we are building than the division facts on the paper.

Our children should be able to show us where they excel, especially in the elementary years.

I was shocked at the pressure he felt to do well on that test. I never imagined the tears of disappointment that would fall. I admire his ambition and his desire to do well.

My boy is amazing in the kitchen. He can cook a meal for the entire family without breaking a sweat.

My boy is incredible at putting things together. He uses tools like a skilled artisan.

My boy is a founding member of the mother/son debate team. (I just made that up) he can persuade me into doing things I never planned to do.

My boy is hilarious. He is always the first one to make a joke at the dinner table.

My boy is a sensitive soul. He’s kind when that sort of thing is necessary.

My boy is diligent. He will work at something until he feels it’s as good as it can be.

When I ripped that paper up, I looked my boy in the eyes and I told him how I had watched him. How I saw him give his best, how he considered each problem and checked each one until he felt it was complete. I watched him erase and rework problems he was unsure of. I watched him pour every bit of effort in his little body into that test. And I told him I had never been more proud.

Children are so much more than test scores. They are so much more than their reading level. They are so much more than the box we try to mold them into.

School is important, and education is important, but it’s not of the highest importance. You should be more concerned with how he treats others, with his level of integrity than with any score on any test.

Originally Published on https://boomersnotsenior.blogspot.com/

I served as a teacher, a teacher on Call, a Department Head, a District Curriculum, Specialist, a Program Coordinator, and a Provincial Curriculum Coordinator over a forty year career. In addition, I was the Department Head for Curriculum and Instruction, as well as a professor both online and in person at the University of Phoenix (Canada) from 2000-2010.

I also worked with Special Needs students. I gave workshops on curriculum development and staff training before I fully retired

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