When it comes to parenting, I’m not perfect.
I’ll wait for a moment while you take that in. I know it’s difficult to imagine.
As long as you don’t ask my kids, the previous statement should have shocked you.
But look at this.
It’s a parenting report card filled out by my orange hair, freckle face olive shoot back in 2007.
I so wish I could remember the name of the book where I discovered this idea. For my family, it’s been a gem assignment.
With no advance notice, we would print copies of the blank report card for our olive shoots to complete. Prior to our report card day, I didn’t load the guys up with yummy desserts and new electronics, the objective was to be honest. Usually I’d just tell the Hubs it was report card time for us.
Aren’t you curious to know what your kids would say about you?
After returning the completed the report cards to us, the Hubs and I would chuckle and compare notes. “Oh, yes you DO do that!” we’d scold each other and do our best to impose guilt and shame upon one another. That is a sign of a strong marriage, btw.
Then sheepishly we’d gather together to discuss the results.
To give you an idea as to how our olive shoots approached this task, they often wanted to apologize for not being able to give us a higher grade. It’s like we all entered a safe and sacred place. Never did I find our kids were wise in their own eyes in this instance. The Hubs and I were assessed on our parenting prowess. We took the feedback and tried to do better.
And there were recurrent themes, for instance, apparently I yell. For the record, the Hubs is inconsistent.
But, hey I am good at keeping things fun and got an A+ for building family traditions.
On one level, it’s wildly amusing.
On another, it’s immensely humbling.
I’m not a great math whiz. History was never my strong suit. I failed Political Science in college which messed my GPA up for the remainder of my college career. I shouldn’t be surprised I’m just a B average mom with spontaneous moments of greatness. That might be as good as it gets though I’ll keep trying. It would be nice to make the A-B Parenting Honor Roll one of these days. Not gonna give up!
Question: What do you think about this idea? What do you think your kids would say? Is there anything you’d add to this list? I look forward to hearing from you!
Between my mother – who gently lets me know all the areas where I, as a mother ‘could do better’ – and my son – who has Autism and doesn’t understand that listing my faults as he perceives them is likely to make me upset – I think I’m getting enough feedback lol… Actually, the fact that my daughters are happy and helpful (mostly!) is praise enough for me 😉
Oh, and I did ask my daughters (10 and 7) what they thought about the type of man they’d like to marry one day (from an earlier blog post of yours – I’m too lazy to look for it but it did set me thinking). My 7-year-old declared, “I’m going to marry Noah.” So that’s settled then! And then I decided that it was time for ‘the talk’ with my 10-year-old (when did she get to be 10 anyway and all beautiful and growing and stuff?!) who is the sweetest little girl and so sensitive. She wants to marry someone like daddy. I reckon that’s a good answer 😀
It’s a blessing to have a mom who can gently offer feedback and probably counteracts your son’s approach which might be hard to hard. Being a mom is so vulnerable, isn’t it? To have your daughters say they want their husbands to possess the qualities they see in the men in their lives is a great testimony. You are doing things right, not perfect but who is? As my report card indicates, not me! Bless you, bless you!
Oh this report card is a great idea! We’ve found it’s too overwhelming to a child to just ask a more open ended “how am I doing?” They either don’t know or don’t really want to say, much of the time. I’ll have to make up a report card for the 11 year old to fill out.
What 11 year old doesn’t want to provide insight to a parent in a safe and honest manner? I wonder how I would have answered a report card for my mom and dad growing up. In some ways, if I could have been honest, things might have been better. I must say each time the Hubs and I have done this, it is obvious that our boys truly desire to speak the truth in love and “help” us. I’d love to hear about this if you chose to do it!
As afraid as I am to do this on some days, I think it would be greatly beneficial to me. Not only will it show what my kids think (I’ve no doubt they would be honest) but it would show me if I’ve taught them well enough to be critical in a nice way or if they choose to be down right mean. LOL 🙂 Kind of goes along with my confession results last night too. … lol
Thanks for the idea. And for sharing your report card.
My hunch is that your family would not only grade on you on one day’s worth of mothering but collectively. My guys were strong enough to be honest but they didn’t destroy the Hubs and I with feedback. I like to think of my sons doing this with their children one day. I hope that I am a straight A grandma! 🙂
If I graded MYSELF, I’d have to say “ouch”! This is a great idea. Thinking of giving it to the older kids (age 26 & 20) to see how I did ‘overall’ and having my husband and I do an honest self-assessment yearly until our 2yr old can understand. I love it! You got a PDF?
I don’t have a PDF and I’m thinking that could be awesome to get your older kids to fill out a report card. Think of the great insight you could get from having them look back? I have many OUCH moments, too and in some ways I think my kids are far more gracious with me than I am with myself! The 2 year old will give you the business, that’s for sure! HA! Thanks for the comment, it means a lot to me!
What a terrifying but fantastic idea. Need to remember this one when H is older.
Yes it was a terrifying and interesting experience each time we gave them the report cards but it was also a chance to get some feedback in a non-confrontational way. I think H could be a super cool guy to fill out your report card. You being a teacher, it would be quite a reversal!
Hey Cindy! I’ve already typed a Parent Report Card in Excel during lunch! Anybody want one? (lol)
Yes! I’d love it! Is there some way you could link it to me? You are a go getter! I’m proud of you for following through! If you want, I’d love to hear how you made the grade! Please share this with others, I know people will be blessed to hear about how you intentionally parent and love other people’s babies as well. You have such a tender and sweet heart.
Awww…Thanks Cindy! It takes a tender and sweet heart to know a tender and sweet heart. I sent the Report Card to your Facebook e-mail. I’ll let you know how I made out! (lol)
Thanks Mindy! I’d love to hear but completely understand if you don’t want to reveal. The significant thing is that you did this, you are making a precious memory for your family.
Great Idea but I am sure to fail. I would definitely fail in the yelling category and spending time with them. I am with the ALL the time but not with them all the time. I do need to spend more one on one time with each but it is SO difficult. I do support them in a lot of ways and am fair to each but I lack in so much in parenting. I would love to have the link to print them out. I will be terrified to give it to them but I would be up for the challenge to get a better report each time. Thanks for posting this great idea!
Ronna, it is a brave thing to do and you have to be ready for the feedback. I was afraid the first time because I knew they were going to be honest and probably share things that might be painful to hear. Pray about it and if the Lord leads you, have the courage to give it a try. You also might be greatly encouraged to learn positive observations and feedback! And if you do it, then make sure they fill one out for your husband as well! It was better for me to know that the Hubs also wasn’t a straight A student!