Here’s a quiz for you. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to your G-spot immediately after the quiz! :-))
Of the options given below, pick the one that is most true for you:
Q1. Your work relates to your area of study or training.
Q2. Evaluate your level of satisfaction with the work you are doing at present:
a) I am delighted to be doing the work I do.
b) I’m reasonably happy doing what I do.
c) I’m sort of okay doing what I do. Could be better, but could be worse too.
d) I’m not too happy doing what I do.
e) I’m miserable! Help!
Alright, it’s G-spot time!
Whether you are a Dad or a Mom, you have a G-spot. And since it is a G-spot, it is sensitive. In fact, it is so sensitive, that it can ruin not just your mood, but your peace of mind and your relationships as well!
G is for Grades, the holy grail of academic achievement.
If your child makes a good grade, there’s a grin on your face and in your mind that you can’t wipe off (and you don’t want to either! 🙂 ). But more often than not, your child doesn’t make as good a grade as you’d like, and that is a niggling dissatisfaction that you can’t quite get over.
You pore over his assignments and his exam papers.
“How could you make such a silly mistake?”
“You don’t know how to spell ‘impossible’? But you spelt it okay in 3 other places! How can you misspell it in a dictation/spelling bee?”
“Really, how can you get confused between addition and multiplication at age 10? 2 x 3 is 6, not 5. Maybe it was a genuine error (! Are there any other kinds of errors? During exams?!), but you should have left enough time for revision before you gave the paper in, and you should have caught and fixed the mistake while looking over your answers! How many times do I have to tell you…?” You’re almost howling with disappointment by now.
Er – let’s get back to the quiz.
What kind of student were you? Maybe you were a star, outperforming everyone. Super! And how long did that continue? Right through high school? Undergraduate school? Graduate school? Even beyond? WOW! That is some achievement, and I congratulate you. 🙂
And you were a star because it all came naturally to you? Or did you have to put in some effort? And if you did, did you want to put in the effort? Or was someone ‘motivating’ (or pushing or nagging) you to do better? And how did you feel about it all? If you could go back today, would you still do what you did then? Or would you choose differently?
For most of us, we might have got pretty good grades through school, or even had flashes of brilliance, but we weren’t on top of the Grade game through our lives.
And whether you set new records with your Grade Point or not, what does that have to do with the work you’re doing now?
How fulfilled are you – doing the work you are doing now? Today, more than ever, people are choosing to set aside years of training in one area, and work in a completely different field. They have invested time, energy and money – their life – in a profession, and they choose to walk away from it. It might be understandable if the choice was made under pressure: a lawyer’s son ‘chooses’ to take the bar exam to continue his mother’s practice; a businessman’s daughter goes to business school …
But even if the choice was freely made, people are choosing to walk away from earlier choices and make new choices all the time – at any time of their lives.
I know people who chose to study at the best Ivy League engineering colleges, where they successfully competed for merit scholarships. They graduated with honors, winning medals and trophies, got wonderful jobs, worked at them, and after years, threw it all up because they wanted to study music or spirituality! And they’re back at undergraduate school, studying.
There are doctors who have trained for over a decade, worked for a while, and then decided they didn’t like it enough to spend more time at the job. Some became photographers, others joined Government (in non-medical) administration, while yet others set up factories to manufacture garments!
Why do you obsess over your child’s grades?
Stop reading for a bit, and spend some time with the question: WHY do you obsess over your child’s grades?
You know from personal experience, from the media, that how well you do at school is no guarantee that you will be happy in your chosen profession.
Or have I made a mistake? Maybe you’re not looking at your child’s happiness.
Maybe you just want to ensure that she is a ‘success’. ‘Success’ means she must make her way rapidly up one of the top 5 companies in the world in her chosen area of work. She must win accolades, she must get a fat salary, and perks you can boast about to everyone you know. And naturally, if she is ‘successful’, she will be happy. (! There is no limit to our capacity for self-delusion!)
We must remember something we are always in danger of forgetting: happiness and success are two different things.
Happiness is what you experience – you know it is real for you.
Success is tricky. You may be held up by the world as a shining example of success, but you may not believe you are a success (if you feel you could do much more, for instance). On the other hand, the world may not think much of you, but you may think you are a success (someone who wants to mow lawns because he loves to do that, and goes ahead and makes a good living from it as well!). 🙂
But you keep getting confused between happiness and success. You are so ‘achievement’ oriented, and you want the best for your kids. Heck, you want your kids to BE the best! So you hound them to ‘Get Good Grades’.
Whether or not they are capable of good grades. Whether or not they wish to get good grades. (Unfortunately for you, their wishes have everything to do with this – you can’t keep pushing them forever. It will only work if they want to get good grades for themselves.) Whether or not they are happy.
And so you make GRADES the fulcrum of your relationship with your child – the fulcrum against which you bang your head till it’s bleeding, and till your relationship with your child is in tatters, but you can’t get yourself to stop.
I’d say that’s a sensitive G-spot. Wouldn’t you?