Different ways to define success
Final report cards are almost here, and with them comes an excellent opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate the growth and success your child has achieved at school this year. But what does success look like? Is it just about marks and favourable comments? Or are there other components, like having friends, high self-esteem, showing growth, or independence? While the answer to this can vary from family to family, this month I’d like to offer you some alternate factors (beyond marks) to consider as you reflect upon and define your child’s success this June.
Other faces of success …
In addition to looking at marks, parents at a workshop I recently ran in Ottawa shared these additional factors they use to define how successful the school year has been:
My child is …
4 happy & enjoys school
4 developing a love of learning
4 a good problem-solver
4 well behaved
4 good at making friends
4 good at time management
Many of the above are usually addressed in the comments or the learning skills section of the report card. However, another method of evaluating your son or daughter’s current level of success is to use a variation of an exercise called “The Wheel of Life”. Here’s how it works …
The Wheel of Success …
Draw a large circle on a piece of paper. Then divide it into pie-shaped pieces, labeling each section to represent a different facet of “success” as you define it. (These may include some/all of those previously listed.) Add as many segments as you require.
Next rate your level of satisfaction with each segment from 1-10, with the center of the circle representing 0, and the outer rim 10. Draw a line across each segment at the appropriate level. (E.g. if something scored a 5/10, you would draw a line across the middle of the segment.) Finally join up and darken all of these new lines to create the new outer rim of your wheel.
How smooth and/or balanced is it? If most areas share close ratings (e.g. 7’s or 8’s), then you and your child likely experienced a relatively “smooth ride”. If, however, some areas are significantly lower (or higher) than others—forming an unbalanced wheel—then you may have noticed things have been a little “bumpy”. This is a great way to visually identify any areas you may need to work on or strengthen over the summer in preparation for next year.
So this month, in addition to celebrating what is on the report card (and not), be sure to take some time with your child and talk about your current school-related practices and determine what’s working really well, and what is not. After all, poor marks and results are really only “bad” if we ignore the opportunity they offer us to make changes.
• Want to have Rob speak at your child’s school? Visit www.ParentingWithIntention.ca for contact information and to access his free monthly newsletter.