18 October, 2007


The second grade took the first of two tests this week.  They are testing the aptitude of the students - no one is exempt.   The testing process has been troubling the Diva for quite a while.  She is concerned that, should she "pass" (They are not pass/fail tests) then she will have to change schools.  Changing schools would be a possibility, but it would not necessarily be the option that we would choose.
Due to her concerns, we have talked about the tests and their results on several occasions.  I have done my best to ensure her that she will be part of the decision process, should it come to that, and that she just needs to do her best.  Performing to the best of her abilities is all I ask and all she can ask of herself.  
That doesn't just apply to tests or school, but to ballet, rock climbing, and life in general.  I want her to see that when she does her best, she will feel good about her effort and hopefully, the outcome.  I want her to know that when she does her best, there will be choices and opportunities that will allow her to do some amazing things.  She will never realize her full potential unless she tests her boundaries and performs optimally... and it truly is a great feeling when you give it your all!
After the practice test, she reported that she was a bit nervous.  She got them all right, but... she was still uncertain based upon concern over what would happen after the test more than fear of the test itself. 
"Just relax and do your best."
"Okay, I'll try."
I looked at her.  Did she mean try to do her best?
"I will do my best and try to relax."
Now I wonder, I love choices and change.  I like dynamic environments.  It is a interesting thought that there are possibly times when the task at hand is not the challenge, but what follows that creates stress.  As we have worked through this process, I have been concerned that she would purposefully not do well on these tests so that she will control the outcome - she will stay where she wants to stay.  There would be no choices, no decisions - everything would be comfortable.
She is only 7.  I am not sure that she would think to behave in such a way, but... do older children?  Do adults?  Is it easier to underperform and stay with the status quo than to risk facing choices and the unknown? 


Scotty said...

Is it easier to underperform and stay with the status quo than to risk facing choices and the unknown

Yes. Thats (usually) why things with higher risk have bigger benefit, but also have potential for biggest loss. No?

Wombat said...

Attempting to control an outcome strikes me as an unhealthy way to look at anything.

Do your best, and that is always enough. If the result is failure, then that's the way of life. Work harder next time, or move on to another endeavour.

Is your daughter not simply fearful of the future, of failing? That is definitely not a way to be in the world.

Failure teaches us infinitely more than success.

(They are not pass/fail tests)

Then they're not tests, they're assessments.

cathouse teri said...

It's hard to be exceptionally anything, even if it's good. You know that. The little gal is stressed about change. Little gals do that. And when she's bigger and in the big world where women are sometimes having to dumb down to fit in with this man's world, she'll still feel stressed.