You Give Yourself Your Own Grade

I just returned from attending "Back to School Night" at my son's high school.  We parents strode from room to room according to our children's schedules, meeting teachers and listening to mini lectures about their goals for our students' education this year.  My son has a truly challenging schedule with an AP course and three honors level classes.  My head was swimming by the end of the third period.  I didn't even bother to crack the class outline open in Chemistry since I knew I wouldn't have a clue – I just hope Eric does!  Amidst the swarm of syllabi and course overviews by talented teachers, I gleaned a pearl of wisdom from my son's Honors Algebra II teacher:

"I tell the kids in my class all the time, 'You give yourself your own grade in this class.'"

Mr. W. went on to tell the group of parents that he challenges students daily to use their talents wisely and to work to their full potential.  He reminds them that their academic destiny is largely in their own hands – that the work they put into their studies will ultimately impact upon the end results they attain.  It wasn't rocket science, but for some reason it really struck a chord with me.  I realized that this simple bit of straight talk holds true in so many aspects of our lives.  The effort I put into my work is directly related to the harvest I will reap when the time comes.  If I am lazy in my own self discipline, the end result is measurable and my own personal responsibility.   

So I learned an important lesson at high school tonight – if I want greatness, I have to give great effort.  If I want productivity, I have to produce.  If I want to be my best, I have to try my hardest.  After all, I give myself my own grade in this life!


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at

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  • Guest

    This is very true! Thank you for sharing!