After John took his geography test on Monday, he was sure he did very poorly. The test involved naming the countries in northern Africa, and though he did study a little, he quickly realized it wasn’t nearly enough.
A good learning experience, I thought. Next time he’ll be more prepared.
Then John did something that surprised me. On his way home from scouts with his dad Monday night, he told him about the test. He told his dad he had failed, that he probably made a zero on it. Naturally, my husband expressed his disapproval and was quite frustrated that I wasn’t more concerned. But that got me thinking…
Why would a boy tell his parent about a bad test score, even before he knew just how bad it was? Especially when he knew what the reaction would be? I believe John told his dad because he needed reassurance.
John needed to know that although he did poorly on a test, everything would still be okay. It’s still early in the semester, and there will be opportunities to bring his grade up. He might even ask the teacher if he could do an assignment for extra credit if he was really concerned about it. He needed a cheering section, and he was hoping that it would be us.
And I’m happy to say, when we understood, we did cheer him on. I told him how this was a good lesson for life, for learning how to organize yourself in such a way that you are able to meet deadlines and come prepared. I told him how some adults forget to pay their electric, telephone, or credit card bills, and how they’re fined because of it. Sometimes people will miss an appointment, too, just because they don’t write it down. What he’s learning now, then, will only help him when he’s grown.
John went to bed feeling a little better that night, and all this week he’s been studying and studying those African nations. He received the test back today; he didn’t do as badly as he thought, and to his relief, it was actually a quiz, so the grade won’t count as much toward his final grade. Now we have to tell Dad, so he can have some reassurance as well.