School Achievements and Smiley Faces

At KDCC, Pipay’s daycare, the put smiley face stamps at the back of the hand of the students. On the first day of class, Pipay got 2, one on each hand. We were so excited about it. We asked what she did, when it was given. First day of school/daycare ended that way.

Since Pipay doesn’t know or can’t remember why she was given 2 smiley faces with ‘good job’ text, i asked her teacher. She said, all of them was given smiley faces. Those are neither for being the one to answer a question nor for being the first to finish an activity. They were given because they participated kn an activity, for doing their routine (like brushing their teeth), and for behaving nicely at school.

As competitive parents, we were hoping that the smiley faces was for being exemplary. But upon hearing the explanation from her teacher, we felt a bit ashamed. We read numerous times that students should be awarded for their effort and not for being the best. Such practice will bring the best in our kids. There are even numerous papers (journals) on studies on attitudes and rewards. It is more important that she tried her best doing things than getting the perfect score, in fact that should be just a bonus.

As parent, we had to step back a bit and re-asses what we want our daughter (and future kids) to be. We are both competitive so it is a bit hard not to be competitive parents. We are being conscious on giving her praises and on looking at other kids. To be honest we compare her a little to other kids her age. Like, this kid is reading already, this kid dances well, this kid sings well, and more. And we learn to take comfort that when we were younger, we think we can’t even do what Pipay can do at this age.

We try so hard not to compare. We are learning to focus on attitude and discipline than the academic achievements.

We are learning, as most first time parents do.