Sunday, January 26, 2014

The B

So we had a teenage trauma this week.  The semester was over on Friday and Josh's lifetime streak of straight A's came to an end. He got a B in honors science. And he was crushed.

Josh is a type A personality to the extreme. He lives by schedules and checklists. He is organized and responsible and an overachiever. He's been that way pretty much since birth. He used to make little checklists and to-do lists for his day when he was in kindergarten. Sometimes when I'm super busy I have him make to-do lists for me. He's the best personal assistant ever. :)  When he grows up he wants to be an actuary because it's a math based career full of charts and checklists and statistics. That's Josh in a nutshell.

So part of being a overachieving type A personality is getting straight A's. He's been a straight A student since...always. When it comes to school I almost never have to get on him about assignments or homework. He's got it covered. If there is a book report due next month he reads the book in the first four days it's assigned, does the report and has it turned in by the end of the first week. Procrastination is not a concept he grasps, lol. (He didn't get that from me, by the way. I practically invented procrastination. Josh is a mystery to me, lol.)

So anyway, this year he's in three honors classes. English, math and science. He's been doing great in all three, he loves them. I check his grades online periodically and they're always A's. He had a goal of getting all the way through middle school and high school with straight A's.

Then this week came along. The last week of the semester. He was assigned a big project in honors science that was worth 100 points, which was the biggest project of the semester. 100 points had the ability to shift his grade an entire letter grade. It was a big deal.

And somehow, I'm still not really sure what happened, he messed up the project. The kid who follows directions better than anyone I've ever known didn't understand the project, or left something off or something. He made a mistake, something catastrophic happened and he got a D on the project. And it dropped his final grade from an A to a B. He panicked and went and talked to the teacher and offered to do an extra credit assignment, but in honors classes there aren't a lot of do-over. The B stands.

Let me be clear, I'm totally cool with a B. I know how hard that kid works. My biggest worry about him is that he works too hard sometimes and forgets how to be a kid. There's nothing wrong with a B. We do push out kids to do their best when it comes to academics, but we don't demand perfection. If they try their hardest, I'm good with whatever the outcome is. And I know that over the semester be tried hard. It was just that one project that somehow failed. It happens, it's OK.

But it's not OK to him and the poor kid was crushed. I felt so bad for him on Friday when he realized that there was nothing he could do to fix it. He ended the semester with all A's except for that one B. He looked so defeated when he came home. It was one of those moments as a parent where I just wanted to fix it for him. Call and beg the teacher for extra credit or something.  But I didn't because I don't work that way and I try to teach my kids that actions have consequences and he legitimately did earn the low grade on the project.

I gave him one of my famous mom pep talks about how in life we can't be expect ourselves to be perfect all the time and all we can do is learn and move on and not be so hard on ourselves. I was careful not to make him feel bad because he already feels bad. It was a hard moment as a parent.

He was pretty mopey so Friday night we bought ice cream and toppings and made gigantic ice cream sundaes and watched The Middle because it makes him laugh. Only for that kid would I have ice cream sundae night for a D on a project and a lower than expected grade in a class, lol. I would normally not celebrate a D on an assignment but with that kid sometimes the best thing I can do for him is to help him cut himself some slack and relax. One bad grade isn't the end of the world. Knowing him he'll just work that much harder next semester.

So that's what's been happening around here this weekend. It's Sunday and he's still a bit mopey. I'm giving him the weekend to mope about it and tomorrow it's time to pull it together and go back in there to start second semester. He'll be fine once he gets busy with his new classes.

There is only one week left in January. We're in the final stretch. It's cold, it's grey, it's starting to wear on me like January always does, but it's almost over. I did good this year. Soon we'll be moving on to February and we'll be celebrating Clarissa's birthday (she'll be five, can you believe it?!) and Valentines Day, which always makes me happy. Good things are ahead. I can't wait! :)


Shari said...

You are a good mom and Josh is lucky to have you. Josh sounds so much like my son :) My son is in Grad school now working on getting his Master's in Bio-statistics and his PhD in Linguistics and is also a straight A student... except for his very first semester in college when he got a B in some class (I don't remember which one). He was so upset with himself at the time, but now realizes that it was a good thing in a way. Sort of like getting that first scratch on a new car, the worrying about it, is now over. He survived the B and realizes that it is not the end of the world :) Granted, he doesn't want another one, but now knows it's okay.

Hope Josh is feeling better about it today.

Lisa said...

You are a good, good mom!