I graduated high school in 1983! Even though Maths was not my strong suit I can tell you that was over 31 years ago. So why, up until last year, was I still carting around my school reports? Yep, I had every single one from Year 2 (when I officially started school), through to Year 12.
Now I was no scholar at school and my poor old report cards pretty much reflected that. The only thing I was ever any good at was English (who would of thought) Being more or less an only child and quite isolated as well, talking in class was a problem for me and this was reflected in every single report card I ever received. The other thing nearly all my teachers said was that if I tried, I could do better. If only they knew how hard I tried but subjects like science and maths just never came easily to me.
I sometimes wonder what those teachers would think of me now if they knew how my life had turned out. I’m proud of my career in law enforcement and that I was able to make a difference. I also ran an aged care service when the kids were little and I’m especially proud of the difference I made to lot of older peoples lives.
We are lucky I guess that learning has always come fairly easily to both our kids and that they have always been able to achieve good results at school, but what has always been more important to us than their grades is the comments and the way they were graded on effort and behaviour. We have always told both of them that if they were getting an A for effort and behaviour but getting a C as a grade, we didn’t care because we knew that they were trying.
So, one afternoon towards the end of last year, I pulled out the folder that held all my reports and my School Certificate and Higher School Certificate and shredded the lot. I had never once been asked for them in all my working life and lets face it they are really only what maybe half a dozen people thought of you at a particular time in your life. They may just have been a reflection of the fact that you got stressed when sitting for an exam and therefore didn’t do well. So, I could no longer see the point of holding on to them. I have to say if felt great to get rid of them too. A step in the right direction of de-cluttering and simplifying my life.
The only thing I kept was the back page of my primary school reports which had an extract of the following poem printed on it. I never knew who wrote it or that only part of it was printed until I searched for it on Google. I have included it here as I think it still contains a valuable message and one we should probably all take note of.
Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte