NCCS Spring Servathon

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In just a few short weeks, the Kindergarten through 12th grade students, parents, and staff of New Covenant Christian School will be volunteering to assist with spring clean-up and grounds keeping work at Lansing’s Frances Park to help spruce it up for its summer usage by thousands of area residents. We are excited to spend the day raking, planting, doing yard work, painting and whatever else is needed in order to be the “hands and feet of Jesus” to the City of Lansing and its residents. We love to reach out every year to our community in practical ways. Our school does numerous community service projects, but our Spring Servathon is the highlight of each school year. Your generous “sponsorship” of our family in this endeavor will continue to support and enrich Christian education at New Covenant Christian School and, consequently, benefit the community. NCCS serves families and students from over thirty different churches in the Greater Lansing area. Our devoted faculty and staff are committed to the academic and spiritual development of every student, and the money raised from this fundraiser enables the school to continue its disciple-making educational ministry to hundreds of children and their families throughout the Lansing area.

We appreciate your willingness to support our family as a sponsor by including the NCCS Spring Servathon as part of your annual charitable giving. Thank you, in advance, for your tax-deductible donation. We know the power of community, and we live the necessity of service. Through your giving, you are impacting lives for generations!

Visit New Covenant Christian School!

Open House 3/18:

The NCCS K4-12 Open House is THIS Wednesday, March 18th! If you are interested in checking out NCCS and encountering our Christ-centered learning environment, please join us from 8:30am to 11:30am. You will have the opportunity to attend worship at our student-led weekly chapel, meet teachers and current parents, visit classes, and tour the school.

Please contact the school office for more information and to let us know you are coming. We are looking forward to meeting you!

Kindergarten Round Up 3/26:

If you have an incoming kindergartener, you can also mark your calendars for Kindergarten Round-Up on March 26th from 9:30am-11:30am! You and your child will have an opportunity to tour the classroom, meet the teacher, and preview the curriculum.

Don’t Steal from Your Kids by Giving Them too Much – Dr. Jim Faye

I know some loving parents who do just about everything to make sure their kids are happy every second of the day. If there isn’t the type of food they like in the fridge, they run to the store to buy it. Whenever the newest fad or electronic device comes out, they make sure they’re the first to own it.

Of course, they refrain from requiring any regular chores out of them, because they know the children work hard at school. Besides, it upsets them when they are asked to help.

Unfortunately, and unintentionally, these parents are stealing from their children. These kids are two of the most miserable human beings on earth. They walk around; actually they sit around most of the time, with scowls on their faces. Because their parents have stolen their self- esteem and gotten them hooked on stuff (and getting their way), nothing seems to bring happiness or contentment. Everything is “stupid” or “boring.”

When we train our kids to believe that getting stuff (or having preferences catered to) is the key to happiness, might we be stealing their lifelong joy and sense of fulfillment? We need to teach them that true contentment comes from learning to delay gratification and setting goals and working to earn things rather than being showered with them.

To protect your children from this type of insidious theft, experiment with the following:

  • The next time your child wants something, ask, “How do you think you might earn that?”
  • Instead of taking on the problem of affording the item, say, “You may have that as soon as you can afford it.”
  • Give them some ideas about how they might earn the required cash, and give yourself a pat on the back for not giving in.
  • Notice how proud they are when they learn to delay gratification and earn things through good old- fashioned planning and perspiration.

Ready for Cell Phones, Social Media, etc.: At What Age? – Dr. Charles Faye

At what age should our kids be allowed to have their own cell phones? When is it appropriate for them to begin using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Texting, etc.)? The overly simplistic answer: Not before their early to middle teenage years.

Few kids have the maturity to handle the pressures of these privileges prior to adolescence. In fact, many adults lack the maturity!

“Maturity” is the key word. Since the stakes are so high, I encourage parents to take the following survey to see whether their kids might be ready. Rate your answers from 1 to 5 for all the statements below. Total your score at the end.

Not at all 1—————2—————3—————4—————5  Absolutely

My child is respectful and fun to be around most of the time. ___

My child typically makes good decisions when he or she isn’t being watched. ___

My child takes responsibility for his or her poor decisions without blaming others. ___

My child believes that using technology is a privilege, not a “right.” __

My child understands that not everybody online is their “friend.” ___

My child completes chores and other duties without needing to be nagged. ___

My child isn’t hooked on drama or gossip. ___

When I ask my child to turn off the TV or computer they do so without arguing. ___

My child handles conflict, teasing and other social trials without “falling apart.” ___

My child understands the risks of sharing too much information online. ___

TOTAL: __________

Obviously, the higher the score, the more confident you can be that your child possesses the basic maturity required to handle technology responsibly. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

For great techniques to lead your child to responsible decision making, check out Four Steps to Responsibility.

What Kind of a “Time” Will You Have This Christmas?

The answer to that question is found in the four statements the angels gave to the shepherds at the very first Christmas. There are four things that the angels said that we’re to do at Christmas:

  • Release our fears.
  • Renew our faith.
  • Receive forgiveness.
  • Rebuild relationships.

The first thing the angel says is this: “Don’t be afraid! Release your anxiety. Let go of your fear. Chill out!”
Luke 2:10 says, “An angel appeared to the shepherds and they were terrified. But the angel said, `Do not be afraid!'” There are 365 “Fear not’s” in the Bible. One for every day of the year! It’s time to release our fears. Let go and let God handle that problem we’ve been worried about.

Luke 2:10 says, “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone!” Christmas is Good News. The Good News keeps getting better and better because the bad news keeps getting worse and worse. What is the Good News?

  • We matter to God. God knows everything about us and He still loves us.
  • We are not an accident. No matter what the circumstances of our birth are, we weren’t made by accident. God has a plan and a purpose for our lives.
  • God wants us to know Him as much as He knows us. He wants us to know Him, so He sent Jesus Christ so we could know what He’s like. If God wanted to relate to birds, He would have become a bird. It’s like the little boy who cried out to his daddy, “I’m afraid of the dark. Come in here and be with me,” Dad said. “Just grab your teddy bear.” The little boy said, “No, I want something with skin on it.”

Luke 2:11 says, “Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born for you; he is Christ the Lord!”

  • God didn’t send us a salesman because we didn’t need a product.
  • And He didn’t send us a politician, because we didn’t need diplomacy.
  • And He didn’t send us a soldier, because we didn’t need a war fought.
  • And He didn’t send a scientist because we didn’t need information.
  • God sent a Savior so we could receive forgiveness.

It’s a time of reconciliation. Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” God wants us to not only have peace with Him but He wants us to have peace with other people too. Who do we need to reach out to this Christmas? Who do we need to write a letter to, make a call to? Who do we need to offer forgiveness to? Who do we need to ask forgiveness from and restore relationships?

My prayer is that we will all have a blessed “TIME” this Christmas holiday season as we prepare to experience a triumphant New Year in 2015 by releasing our fears, renewing our faith, and building and restoring our relationships in the spirit and power of “Emmanuel”! Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Prosperous New Year!

Pastor Fred McGlone

How to Help Your Child’s Teacher “Hear” Your Concerns – By Jim Fay

Here’s another “pointer” by Jim Fay of Love and Logic to help ensure your concerns as parents are clearly and fully heard and addressed by your child’ teachers and administrators.

How to Help Your Child’s Teacher “Hear” Your Concerns
By Jim Fay

There was a problem on the playground during recess today. Even though it involved only some of the classmates, the consequence for the entire class was the loss of recess for two days. Patty and Wanda were incensed.

“Most of us were being good! It’s just not fair for all of us to miss recess,” they told their mothers. “You need to call the teacher and make her change her mind,” they insisted.

Wanda’s mother went to the phone, and when the teacher answered said, “Punishing all the kids for what a few of them did just doesn’t make sense. You just need to handle this in a better way. Both Wanda and I think that this is totally unfair!”

Patty’s mother called the teacher and said, “I’d like to share what the girls have told me about the recess problem today and get your thoughts on it.”

I bet you know which mother’s concerns the teacher was more receptive to hearing and accepting.

I visited with this teacher. She told me that Wanda’s mother called first and that she immediately found herself being defensive about the situation. The call didn’t go well. The conversation she had with Patty’s mom went better.

She went on to say, “I didn’t feel defensive at all when Patty’s mom called. I liked her opening statement so well that I’m going to be using it in the future when I have to call parents about a problem.”

What was that opening statement? “I’d like to share what I’ve been hearing and get your thoughts.” It’s a surefire way to keep the other person from feeling attacked.

And by the way, I will be encouraging the staff and myself to keep this valuable insight in mind in our sharing of any concerns with all of you as well! We all need to do all we can with God’s help to keep the lines of communication open and the love flowing!

I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people… Psalms 85:8, NASU

“Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them” by Tim Elmore

The following article may be long, but contains valuable insight and wisdom which I believe God has provided to help us rear our children to be the men and women of character and endurance He has created and called them to be.  Please “persevere” in reading the entire article.  You will be blessed.  

-Pastor Fred McGlone

Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them – Tim Elmore

Recently, I read about a father, Paul Wallich, who built a camera-mounted drone helicopter to follow his grade-school-aged son to the bus stop. He wants to make sure his son arrives at the bus stop safe and sound. There’s no doubt the gizmo provides an awesome show-and-tell contribution. In my mind, Paul Wallich gives new meaning to the term “helicopter parent.”

While I applaud the engagement of this generation of parents and teachers, it’s important to recognize the unintended consequences of our engagement. We want the best for our students, but research now shows that our “over-protection, over-connection” style has damaged them. Let me suggest three huge mistakes we’ve made leading this generation of kids and how we must correct them.

1. We Risk Too Little

We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. Toxic. High voltage. Flammable. Slippery when wet. Steep curve ahead. Don’t walk. Hazard. This “safety first” preoccupation emerged over thirty years ago with the Tylenol scare and with children’s faces appearing on milk cartons. We became fearful of losing our kids. So we put knee-pads, safety belts and helmets on them…at the dinner table. (Actually I’m just kidding on that one). But, it’s true. We’ve insulated our kids from risk.

Author Gever Tulley suggests, “If you’re over 30, you probably walked to school, played on the monkey bars, and learned to high-dive at the public pool. If you’re younger, it’s unlikely you did any of these things. Yet, has the world become that much more dangerous?  Statistically, no. But our society has created pervasive fears about letting kids be independent—and the consequences for our kids are serious.”

Unfortunately, over-protecting our young people has had an adverse effect on them.  “Children of risk-averse parents have lower test scores and are slightly less likely to attend college than offspring of parents with more tolerant attitudes toward risk,” says a team led by Sarah Brown of the University of Sheffield in the UK. Aversion to risk may prevent parents from making inherently uncertain investments in their children’s human capital; it’s also possible that risk attitudes reflect cognitive ability, researchers say.”   Sadly, this Scottish Journal of Political Economy report won’t help us unless we do something about it. Adults continue to vote to remove playground equipment from parks so kids won’t have accidents; to request teachers stop using red ink as they grade papers and even cease from using the word “no” in class. It’s all too negative. I’m sorry—but while I understand the intent to protect students, we are failing miserably at preparing them for a world that will not be risk-free.

Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee or a broken bone, they frequently have phobias as adults. Interviews with young adults who never played on jungle gyms reveal they’re fearful of normal risks and commitment. The truth is, kids need to fall a few times to learn it is normal; teens likely need to experience conflict with friends  to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require.

Pain is actually a necessary teacher. Consider your body for a moment. If you didn’t feel pain, you could burn yourself or step on a nail and never do something about the damage and infection until it was too late. Pain is a part of health and maturity. Similarly, taking calculated risks is all a part of growing up. In fact, it plays a huge role. Childhood may be about safety and self-esteem, but as a student matures, risk and achievement are necessities in forming their identity and confidence.

Because parents have removed “risk” from children’s lives, psychologists are discovering a syndrome as they counsel teens: High Arrogance, Low Self-Esteem. They’re cocky, but deep down their confidence is hollow, because it’s built off of watching YouTube videos, and perhaps not achieving something meaningful.

According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peaks during adolescence. Teens are apt to take more risks than any other age group. Their brain programs them to do so. It’s part of growing up. They must test boundaries, values and find their identity during these years. This is when they must learn, via experience, the consequences of certain behaviors. Our failure to let them risk may explain why so many young adults, between the ages of 22 and 35 still live at home or haven’t started their careers, or had a serious relationship. Normal risk taking at fourteen or fifteen would have prepared them for such decisions and the risks of moving away from home, launching a career or getting married.

2. We Rescue Too Quickly

This generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did thirty years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. We remove the need for them to navigate hardships. May I illustrate?

Staff from four universities recently told me they encountered students who had never filled out a form or an application in their life. Desiring to care for their kids, and not disadvantage them, parents or teachers had always done it for them.

One freshman received a C- on her project and immediately called her mother, right in the middle of her class. After interrupting the class discussion with her complaint about her poor grade, she handed the cell phone to her professor and said, “She wants to talk to you.” Evidently, mom wanted to negotiate the grade.

A Harvard Admissions Counselor reported a prospective student looked him in the eye and answered every question he was asked. The counselor felt the boy’s mother must have coached him on eye-contact because he tended to look down after each response. Later, the counselor learned the boy’s mom was texting him the answers every time a question came in.

A college president said a mother of one of his students called him, saying she’d seen that the weather would be cold that day and wondered if he would make sure her son was wearing his sweater as he went to class. She wasn’t joking.

This may sound harsh, but rescuing and over-indulging our children is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse. It’s “parenting for the short-term” and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Just like muscles atrophy inside of a cast due to disuse, their social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual muscles can shrink because they’re not exercised.

For example, I remember when and where I learned the art of conflict resolution. I was eleven years old, and everyday about fifteen boys would gather after school to play baseball. We would choose sides and umpire our games. Through that consistent exercise, I learned to resolve conflict. I had to. Today, if the kids are outside at all, there are likely four mothers present doing the conflict resolution for them.

The fact is, as students experience adults doing so much for them, they like it at first. Who wouldn’t? They learn to play parents against each other, they learn to negotiate with faculty for more time, lenient rules, extra credit and easier grades. This actually confirms that these kids are not stupid. They learn to play the game. Sooner or later, they know “someone will rescue me.” If I fail or “act out,” an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct. Once again, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works. It actually disables our kids.

3. We Rave Too Easily

The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. We determined every kid would feel special, regardless of what they did, which meant they began hearing remarks like:

“You’re awesome!”

“You’re smart.”

“You’re gifted.”

“You’re super!”

Attend a little league awards ceremony and you soon learn: everyone’s a winner. Everyone gets a trophy. They all get ribbons. We meant well—but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences. Dr. Carol Dweck wrote a landmark book called, Mindset. In it she reports findings about the adverse affects of praise. She tells of two groups of fifth grade students who took a test. Afterward, one group was told, “You must be smart.” The other group was told, “You must have worked hard.” When a second test was offered to the students, they were told that it would be harder and that they didn’t have to take it. Ninety percent of the kids who heard “you must be smart” opted not to take it.  Why? They feared proving that the affirmation may be false. Of the second group, most of the kids chose to take the test, and while they didn’t do well, Dweck’s researchers heard them whispering under their breath, “This is my favorite test.” They loved the challenge. Finally, a third test was given, equally as hard as the first one. The result? The first group of students who were told they were smart, did worse. The second group did 30% better.  Dweck concludes that our affirmation of kids must target factors in their control. When we say “you must have worked hard,” we are praising effort, which they have full control over. It tends to elicit more effort. When we praise smarts, it may provide a little confidence at first but ultimately causes a child to work less. They say to themselves, “If it doesn’t come easy, I don’t want to do it.”

What’s more, kids eventually observe that “mom” is the only one who thinks they’re “awesome.” No one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their own mother; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality.

Further, Dr. Robert Cloninger, at Washington University in St. Louis has done brain research on the prefrontal cortex, which monitors the reward center of the brain. He says the brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through. The reward center of our brains learns to say: Don’t give up. Don’t stop trying. “A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards,” Cloninger says, “will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.”

When we rave too easily, kids eventually learn to cheat, to exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it. A helpful metaphor when considering this challenge is: inoculation. When you get inoculated, a nurse injects a vaccine, which actually exposes you to a dose of the very disease your body must learn to overcome. It’s a good thing. Only then do we develop an immunity to it. Similarly, our kids must be inoculated with doses of hardship, delay, challenges and inconvenience to build the strength to stand in them.

Eight Steps Toward Healthy Leadership

Obviously, negative risk taking should be discouraged, such as smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc. In addition, there will be times our young people do need our help, or affirmation. But—healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings. They’ll need to try things on their own. And we, the adults, must let them. Here are some simple ideas you can employ as you navigate these waters:

  • Help them take calculated risks. Talk it over with them, but let them do it. Your primary job is to prepare your child for how the world really works.
  • Discuss how they must learn to make choices. They must prepare to both win and lose, not get all they want and to face the consequences of their decisions.
  • Share your own “risky” experiences from your teen years. Interpret them. Because we’re not the only influence on these kids, we must be the best influence.
  • Instead of tangible rewards, how about spending some time together? Be careful you aren’t teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.
  • Choose a positive risk taking option and launch kids into it (i.e. sports, jobs, etc). It may take a push but get them used to trying out new opportunities.
  • Don’t let your guilt get in the way of leading well. Your job is not to make yourself feel good by giving kids what makes them or you feel better when you give it.
  • Don’t reward basics that life requires. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.
  • Affirm smart risk-taking and hard work wisely. Help them see the advantage of both of these, and that stepping out a comfort zone usually pays off.

Bottom line? Your child does not have to love you every minute. He’ll get over the disappointment of failure but he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So let them fail, let them fall, and let them fight for what they really value. If we treat our kids as fragile, they will surely grow up to be fragile adults. We must prepare them for the world that awaits them. Our world needs resilient adults not fragile ones.

“What to do about a stressed out teen” by Tim Elmore

A new report was just released, unveiling a study of adolescents and stress. It’s eye-opening. I realize I’ve written on this topic already, but I continue to be stunned by the number of high school and college students I meet who are paralyzed by stress. I asked myself, Is it just me? Am I the only one meeting kids full of angst? Turns out, I’m not.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, one in eight children suffers from an anxiety disorder. The problem is so severe for 10 percent of teens that it disrupts their lives. By the time they reach college, almost half say their anxiety makes it difficult to function. Life is not supposed to be this way for kids.

What teens say
I just interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author and psychology professor at San Diego State University, and she said teens are now demonstrating more psychosomatic symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as trouble sleeping or remembering, than ever before. High school students at the Newport Academy, a behavioral treatment center, revealed what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by the stress from parents, friends and school:

“I didn’t see any other people in my life struggling with anxiety, so I constantly felt like there was something wrong with me,” one teen said.

Another student admitted, “I feel so far behind everyone else, and I can’t keep up. So I start thinking about how it would be better if I wasn’t even here.”

Some teens complain that social media has complicated their lives, forcing them to pretend they’re outgoing and having fun when the reality is much different. One report states that 33 percent admitted to doing something just so they could brag about it on Facebook. Many said their parents added to their anxiety by constantly hovering, arranging after-school activities and pressuring them to do well in class.

Two big causes
I have observed two gigantic realities that have led to this “stress” dilemma:
1. Teens have never been more pressured by adults to make the grade, make the team, make the cut and make a difference. They feel like losers if they’re not the best.
2. Teens have never been more devoid of coping skills to handle adversity. This is due to adults over-connecting, over-protecting, over-serving and overwhelming them.

Consider this: The very same adult (perhaps parent) who shelters a student from any failure may also be the one who’s pressuring them to push forward in tough times. It’s very hard to face hardships if you’ve never been introduced to them — and in fact, have been sheltered from them — your whole life. In a recent focus group, I was appalled by the kinds of challenges that paralyzed students. By the way, the participants in the focus group were great students: smart, savvy, good-looking, and many of them quite popular. But they were challenged by relatively minor difficulties, like a C- on a paper or conflict in a relationship. I remained silent and listened, but inside, I was thinking: Wow. Count your blessings. In ten years, these will be the least of your worries!

A balanced approach:
It’s importance to stay balanced on this issue. It’s easy for us, as adults, to forget the angst of being a teenager. We forget the stress we felt over relatively small problems in the midst of raging hormones, peer bullies and tough teachers. Here are some keys to responding to and equipping a stressed-filled student:

1. Perception: Keep your antennas up. Look for signs of angst, including extreme silence and withdrawal, hiding their habits, or covering things up as a coping mechanism.
2. Origins: Help them discover the source of their anxiety. Trace their feelings to specific situations or experiences they’ve had. Understanding origins informs action…
3. Outlook: Help them understand these feelings are a natural part of adolescence. Their body and brain are changing. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed in this season.
4. Responsibility: Enable them to see what is in their control, what is out of their control, and what is within their influence. These three require different responses.
5. Priorities: Stress can arise from attempting to please too many people or do too many things. Help them choose what’s most important and what can be discarded.

Our young people are far too valuable — and their future is far too important — to allow stress to dictate these years they spend preparing for adulthood.

At the end of the day, the old adage, “Stop, Look, and Listen” applies to more than simply crossing the street safely! Hope this article helps us all do more of all three with our precious kids! Remember, we only get one “go-by” with each one of them!

“Are We Talking Too Much?” by Pastor McGlone

A personal anecdote from Dr. Charles Fay. The other day I caught myself giving a lengthy speech about the importance of kids doing their chores and respecting their parents to my seven-year-old son in response to his eye-rolling and huffing about having to clean up after the dog.

“I used to be a parenting expert. That is…until I had kids.
Parenting is tough because we love our children. Since highly effective teachers also love their students, they struggle with the same temptations. We want the best for them. We worry that they’ll become irresponsible. We sometimes feel panicked because they don’t seem to be turning out the way we hoped. As educators we mourn when we aren’t reaching a child in the way we hoped.

Lots of intense feelings can muddy our minds and leave us forgetting that we can’t talk tykes…or teens…into being respectful, responsible and self-controlled. In fact, the more extensive our vocabularies become, the less effective we become.

The more words we use when things are going poorly, the less effective we become. Run an experiment: see what happens if you simply use fewer words when things are going poorly. The odds are high that you’ll be glad you did.

Many excellent and loving parents and educators are faltering. Not because they lack skills. No. It’s because they talk too much while they’re using their good skills.”

Danny Silk, from Bethel Church in Redding, California, gives this advice to parents, especially those with “tween-agers” and teenagers: “The key to reducing arguments and power struggles is asking God to show you when to go ‘brain-dead.’ This takes away anything for our child to “push against” in our many words. If you don’t know when to do this, you might say something, and then you’re off and running!”

As is the case with so many issues of life, there are “truths in tension,” even in the Word of God.

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
Proverbs 25:11 NLT

Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
Proverbs 10:19 TNIV

The only way to determine God’s perspective in the moment is to stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and leading. Isn’t it wonderful how God uses parenting and teaching to keep us earnestly seeking His heart and intimately tuning in to His voice!?! Often, knowing what and when NOT to speak requires as much supernatural wisdom as giving great advice and direction!

I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.
John 12:49 NLT

“Love and Logic Tips About Grades” by Dr. Charles Fay

The kids are back in school and it won’t be long before they start getting report cards. One of the most common questions I’m asked by parents and educators is how to respond to bad grades. The first thing to remember is that the child’s report card is the child’s…not ours.

While it’s easy to get down on ourselves when kids perform poorly, it’s very important to our mental health and theirs to remember the following:

We can’t learn for kids.
As educators and parents we can up the odds of high achievement by modeling responsibility, establishing a safe and calm environment, providing excellent individualized instruction and demonstrating excitement for learning.

We can’t control every action they take or decision they make.
Secondly, it’s comforting to remember that some of the world’s most successful people have struggled with grades. Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Jim Fay and Dr. Foster Cline are some notable examples. What’s most important is that our children develop good character, curiosity and problem-solving skills.

Many highly successful people struggled with “grades” as children.
Thirdly, if we can consistently demonstrate empathy rather than anger or frustration, the odds of them overcoming their difficulties dramatically increase. Is empathy really that powerful? Yes indeed! In fact, a growing body of research is demonstrating that warmth (i.e., empathy) is strongly correlated with higher achievement and better behavior. (If you like reading research, study: Rivers, Mullis, Fortner & Mullis, 2012 and Silt, Hughes, Wu & Kwock, 2012.

So…let’s remember to respond with sincere love and concern:
“Oh man. I bet these grades are really disappointing for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. The good news is that this doesn’t change the way I feel about you.”

Note: Rather than fighting with kids about their grades, consider reading Fay’s book, From Bad Grades to a Great Life! If it doesn’t completely change your life, he’ll buy it back!