Today's prompt? A Pretty Good Student by Charles Osgood. Go ahead - read through it first.
This reminds me of a colleague's "D-" speech. Basically the rant goes: sure, D- is "good enough". It'll get you through; probably get you a diploma. But that D- carries on - you end up with a D- house, with a D- minus spouse, D- kids, D- dog, D- job, etc. He loves this speech, and takes any opportunity offered to share it with anyone who'll listen. And he and Osgood have probably got a point. But I believe there's better ways to motivate people to achieve than to threaten them with what disaster could fall if they don't pick themselves up.
As an educator, I have an obligation to offer the best I've got to my kids. Not because of some global standardized test competition, but because I owe them my best. Because I want to sleep peacefully at night and not be haunted by dreams of my inadequacies. And mostly, because I love what I do and think it's important.
And the best way to motivate kids to rise above a "D-" or "Pretty Good" life is to help them to love what they're doing as well. To help them see their strengths, imagine their possibilities, honor their passions.
Yes, "Pretty Good" shouldn't be where anyone settles. And "D-" isn't the life anyone wants to lead. But instead of threatening our kids, let's embrace who they are and watch them grow into who they can be.