Why An F On Your Kid’s Report Card Is Reason To Celebrate

John Scott Reinvention

You may not be in school anymore, but you’re still getting A’s and B’s and C’s and…F’s. Let’s start with Marcus Buckingham and an average family kitchen table: We see the A’s on the report card, but what do we do? We blow right past them and flip out over the F. And that’s a great way to ruin a kid’s psyche. If you’re one of those parents who expects straight A’s, a 4.0 GPA, and not a hint of anything less, you’re a well-meaning person but you are missing a gigantic point – not everyone is good at everything. A wise parent would first gush over the A’s and B’s and then perhaps celebrate with a favorite meal. At this point the kid is either waiting for the other shoe to drop or wondering how you missed that fail. This is a perfect opportunity to go after them. 1. Say again how proud you are they got the great grades. 2. Ask (only then) why they think they failed that one class. Was it “too hard?” Was there a bad vibe with the teacher? Did they forget to hand assignments in?  There’s a reason. Get to it. 3. If you have evidence to believe their disclosures were skills and not behavior – based, say this: “Let’s come up with a strategy to get up to a passing grade.I expect you to always do your best but I understand (that subject) is brutal for you.  We can get some help for you to struggle through this.” The kid’s face will likely light up with relief and joy. Like a bad boss or manager, we kill people for their flaw and not embrace their general awesomeness. Weaknesses can rarely be made strong. Strengths should be turned into superhero talent. I’m starting a company, the formal announcement which is forthcoming. As my wife can attest, I am absolutely dreadful with things financial. I hate thinking about it, hate studying it, don’t want to think about it. But life’s bills must be paid (I have to get a grade of C with it). That’s why my wife is the money wizard in our relationship, and that’s why my company will use a trusted business development and accounting expert. I am one of the best strategists I have ever met! It’s my strength, it’s my passion and it’s my fuel cell. I must focus on the things that are easy to power up –  and to minimize flaws. The thing that slows most of our career paths down is the constant attempts to get better at something we really can’t do much about. Like the kid who rocks geometry but has trouble grasping the nuances of medieval societies, let’s celebrate our greatness. We can get help for the rest of it.   Picture of John ScottJohn Scott is the Career Services Manager and an instructor at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. His latest book “You. Employed: why winners get jobs” is in the Amazon book store. @johnscottsf

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