...do not bring us to the test

I was a bad student. The kind who do everything but study all through the year. But I was held up as a role model to the rest of the class and my cousins (and heartily resented for it), because I was very good at exams.

I studied the examination system more seriously than my books. My success belonged more to strategizing and sheer luck than slogging-smart working as it is called these days. Yes, I seriously worked hard at getting marks, because my grades did matter a lot to me.

And like most parents, I resolved I would not bring up my daughters to do the same.

With them, I always emphasized that learning is more important than “mugging up and coughing out”. I’d prefer that they did reasonably well on their own, than “coming first” with spoon-fed answers and I never asked the teacher their “rank” in class compared to the others.

Yet, when Elena showed me her test answer papers with 23½ out of 25 in four out of five of them-I couldn’t help asking:

Why? When you know everything?

These are just test marks, I do know the answers and that is more important.

So why didn’t you just check the paper before handing it in? These are just careless mistakes that you could have corrected.

I had to go for choir practice so I finished as fast as I could.

Looking at my expression, she sat down to explain:

Mamma, these tests keep happening all around the year, but the Speech day happens only once. Also these marks are not so important, because I do know everything. My Ma’am also knows that I know.

A theatrical pause and then the punch line:

And you know Mamma, there are so many kids in my class who have actually Failed!
Unsaid: See, you lucky you are? And stop cribbing about the 1½ points.

I know she is right.

But the Mom in me still wants her to do better. Am I wrong?


  1. I was a topper, and contrary to some people would have liked to believe, I rarely studied at home. Mostly class attention did it, I usually picked up book when exam day would near. This is what made my parents very ambitious. They thought if I could be a topper with so little effort, I could do more, some 'bigger things.' :)

    But main thing was that I didn't want to do 'bigger things', I guess despite being a topper I was a source of disappointment to my parents.

    Don't push your children (though I know that you wouldn't), let them be what they want to be. Let them have their own failures. I didn't mind having mine. :P

  2. She'll be happy with her results, happier reading "Secret Sevens" instead of going that one extra bit.Can I let her be? I think not yet. I want her not to be happy with the low hanging fruits and stretch up!

    You are lucky if you haven't made mistakes u want to regret. I've seen many who do-but there is nothing you can do later to put them right. I just hope I am not making one more right now :(

  3. You know, I used to do the same.. Teachers used to say that I just do not take tests seriously.. and that was true.. But I did fine, without really killing myself and getting serious about it - when it was required.. Am sure your daughter will be fine.. She clearly knows her priorities and I think as parents we do tend to want 'better' for our children :)

  4. I think you are right. I just find it difficult to "let go" at times-need to work on it.

  5. He he ... am with u too ;) Even today, my sis asks me how is it that I wud study at the last min n still score well.

    And ur daughter is really smart. She has her priorities right n understands that its more important to understand things n just score marks :)


  6. Hi Swaram

    Really enjoyed your posts.
    I just realized-there are quite a few like me :)

    As for my daughter-I am afraid she is too smart at times....

  7. I had the exact same attitude to marks and ranks with my own kids when they were little! Now that they are a bit more grown up, they do tell me when I ask abt their performance in exams, that they "know" what they learnt and that is all that really matters, na mom?Hehe!

    Liked your post! :) Brought back a few memories!

  8. Hi Fafy-u sound so much like a kindred spirit. So how do you get your kids to do "better"? or do you just let them be?


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