New York Times: A First Report Card Fails to ‘Exceed Expectations’

motherlodeDon’t compare yourself to others. Let go of striving and accept the world as it is, not as you’d like it to be. Practice humility and gratitude. Forty-three years, and this is the Buddhist wisdom I’ve learned to embrace, the foundation on which my inner peace rests. Until I got my son’s first report card.

“He’s in kindergarten,” I told my husband when I heard the report was imminent. “Why does he need a report card?”

Still, I was confident that my little guy would bring home an unequivocal proclamation of his intelligence. When I was his age, our grading system included E’s, V.G.’s, G’s and a lower classification I can’t remember because I was a straight-E student. Cai’s school uses E, but it stands for “Exceeds Expectations” rather than “Excellent.”

I sat back and waited for the Es to roll in.

Cai did not receive a single E — not one for the duration of an eight-page report card. Eight pages of evaluation and judgment. If it weren’t my child who was being scrutinized, I may have laughed. Read more

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