Saturday, February 10, 2007


Lady Epiphany put up a post about report cards. She writes that she felt terrible on the few occasions that she didn't get a good grade. It got me to thinking about my own experience with grades. I too didn't like getting less than an A but I'm not sure where that drive came from. Not my father or mother I don't think. I spent first and second grade in Montessori School and I don't remember if we even had report cards. I suspect that the teachers just wrote out a report and that it didn't have actual grades. Then during the year I spent in Yugoslavia I did get grades but they were all excellent and I was duly praised. Is that the beginning? It's hard to say. I found school pretty easy. In fact I don't think I brought home less than an A until senior year of high school when I got a B in physics, mostly due to a serious case of senioritis. I did do badly on a couple of quizzes here and there and I hated it. But I think the drive for the grade was all me, part of my own perfectionist tendencies. At some point I began to hold myself to a high standard. In high school I found people even more driven than myself for the high grade. 94 was not good enough, it should be at least 97. Why did I come to this need? Maybe it was so the praise would keep coming? That I wanted to be seen in a certain way by those around me? I know that I have always wanted others to think well of me, to see me as competent and intelligent and capable. This has manifested in other ways. For example, I like to know how to do a thing before I try it in public. I don't like to have to ask for help (though I will ask for directions). And if there is a good chance of failure I have walked away or not tried at all. I took some gymnastics in grade school and was just terrible. After that I never went after any sport. I did not see myself as athletic so I didn't try. Not being one of the best feels bad. I really can't blame any of my parents. I don't believe that they gave me this. Had I failed at something in school they would have been supportive and kind. What's the conclusion? I suppose I don't have one. It seems that I brought myself here. But I have been trying to change. To let things go and to try when I'm not sure that I'll succeed. But what if I fail at that?

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