“I learned so much more than the grades show.”
“How hard I worked.”
“What really interests me.”
“That I love listening to music.”
“That I am a good person.”
“That I love my friends.”
Yes, teens come up with these insights suggesting that they know deep down what is truly important.
Just like kids, we too are not our grades, accomplishments, bodies, possessions or professions. Yet this is how we often evaluate success. We measure and are measured frequently by: Where we went to school? What awards have we won? How thin are we? How big are our houses? Do we have those designer shoes?
These external factors do not define us. Rather, they can be limiting if we tie our identity around them. They can be costly to the soul if we get too wrapped up in comparing ourselves with others and make our sole focus on ideals of the ego.
Becoming keenly aware of the character qualities that show hard work, passion, kindness, compassion, love are worthy measures of success but hard to quantify. Isn’t it a bit tricky to say, you get a B in loving your friends? Or, when it comes to passion, you shine.
Grades are necessary. I would not whisk them away. Measurements are a reality that exist in school, work and beyond. It would be lovely though, if we spent a bit more time celebrating the intrinsic qualities of character. The qualities that light up the world like what the teens mentioned when they are given a chance to answer, “what do your grades NOT say about you?”