By Kathy Fawcett
What difference did your high school grades make in your adult life?
The other day I met the future valedictorian of my son’s class of 2011. How do I know? His mom told me. "He’s the top student in the class," she said, but worries that his advanced class placement in high school might lower his chances if he should get his first ever B.
I scrambled to think of just one of my son’s teacher’s names while she talked, and gazed at the boys, my son being the one who just a few years ago, stapled a stuffed squirrel to the shoulder of his shirt before he left for school. "You must be so proud." Really, though, it made me realize how little I really care about grades.
Don’t tell my son though – as the third child, we’ve been telling him his entire life that no family ever has money left for the last kid, after helping the others with cars, cell phones and college. We tell him this because he is very smart, and tests very well, in spite of his very average grades. We recognized early on that our youngest was the one who would have a strong chance at academic scholarships. So we are unmovable in our mercenary mantra: "You will get good grades in high school."
My grades in high school were actually quite good, though I put no extra effort towards them. I remember feeling almost defiant, that my grades would not define who I was, or what I could do with my life. I suspect my kids have always felt the same way, but we won’t speak of such things until they are much, much older.
And you? Let’s hear back. Did you work hard for good grades that opened college and career doors? Did you flub high school only to shine in college? What mattered the most?