This morning Caroline was looking at her report card for the 100th time since it came home. I can’t possibly imagine where she got this academic drive or the perfectionism but instead of focusing on all the great marks and positive comments, she continues to examine those few things did not earn her the highest grade.
For ‘Shows Initiative’, she received a U for usually instead of a C for consistently. She asked again what initiative was and I told her it was about having your own ideas and taking action on them.
And that was when the rug was pulled out from under me.
After defining initiative for Caroline she said, “Well, I can’t show initiative. I have to do what my teacher tells me to do. If I did my own ideas, I’d get in trouble.”
I have been worried about the state of education in America for a long time. Years ago I worked in a public school when No Child Left Behind first reared it’s ugly head. I saw creative and thoughtful teachers brought to tears as they had changed their ways to teach to the test. As my own children enter the system, I am frustrated by hours and hours of deskwork and by the number of worksheets that are assigned for homework. I’ve had a hard time imagining where fun and creativity can reside in this type of school environment.
I now know that there is no fun, there is no creativity and there is no initiative.
While I work to create a revolution in our educational system, I must also focus on instilling fun, creativity and initiative into our family life. For without these things, what will become of tomorrow’s adults?
There is creativity and initiative; it just takes time for children to understand what the right time in school for it is. In 2nd grade, my son wrote in his biography that he lived in the Milky Way Galaxy, and his teacher told him he wasn’t writing fiction. Talk about a confused child! Now 15, he’s still a creative guy, but he knows how to read what the teacher wants, which is a useful life skill. Depending on the age of your daughter, I can see how she might think she’s not allowed to act on her own ideas– her idea might be to sit under her desk and read, which the teacher might not like. Don’t despair! A creative family life will always win over worksheets!