I beg to differ

Dear Parents

on June 25, 2014

A minus

Dear Parents,


Your child’s report card comes home. You glance through, and horror of all horrors, it doesn’t have straight As. There are two Bs for your child’s hardest classes.

All your life, you’ve taught them that Bs are bad. Bs are unsatisfactory, substandard, and caused by negligence by kids. How could they think of bringing home a final report card with a B?! They’ll never get into a top college now. They’ll never be successful. They shouldn’t have been so careless.

You say you’ll be the good parent – you won’t yell at them. You’ll be “understanding”. You’ll talk to them about this horrible mistake. The both of you will reflect over your child’s mistakes so that it never happens again.


“________, your report card is here.” You fail to see your child’s smile as they come to tell you how proud they are of their hard work.

“And even though I got a B in this class, I learned so much and -”

“Why do you have two Bs?” you cut across sharply.

Your child’s smile drops.


Let’s reflect upon your school year, you say. When did you slack off? Was it that one month you were too involved in your extra-curricular activity? Why didn’t you work harder? Why didn’t you get an A? I bet _________ got an A. Were you distracted? Why didn’t you ask me to get you tutoring? What could I have done to help? This is an important year of your high school career! This will affect your college admissions!

Your child and you go to sleep angry at each other over what should have been a celebration. Your child wakes up sad and guilty.


If handling this situation could be graded, you’d be given an F.




The ex-Straight A student


Parents, there are three things I’d like you to know:

1) If your child has done hard work, and is proud of it, you should be proud of them, too. No ifs, ands, or buts.

2) An A grade is not normal. It is not average. It is not easy. It is not what everyone else gets. Especially not in AP and honors classes.

3) Appreciate the good. Yes, your child got a few Bs, but they also got a lot of As. They took challenging classes. You saw them working hard all year. Reward them for that. Definitely don’t make them feel horrible for it.


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