As more people strive to enter college in an effort to further their economic interests, the pressure is on for good grades. Good grades for better schools and good grades for more scholarship money. But how far do we, as parents, go to foster the drive for good grades? Do we go as far as paying for performance?
My wife and I have opted to not pay for good grades. Our stance has been good grades are expected because that’s just part of what they’re supposed to do. Their job is their schoolwork before anything else – activities, part-time job, volunteerism – and that’s what has to take precedence.
We know others however, who’ve installed a pay-for-performance system, starting at the middle-school level. Their belief is that if good grades really do matter, then the student can best understand that by being rewarded for the extra work that is typically required to obtain the higher grade. In this view, the prime motivator is financial, which translates into greater savings or buying power. The additional argument is that this is a foretaste of the real world in which good performance is rewarded with greater income. Additionally, it is positive reinforcement
While I understand this rationale, I disagree with it. There are things that we have to do simply because they are what’s required; that includes doing our best in all facets, including grades and studies. It is like the definition of character; doing your best regardless of whether someone is watching or not. It is also one of the hallmarks of parenting: you can look at all of the arguments and pros/cons of a particular situation and adopt a stance that might appear to be outweighed by the other positions. Simply because that’s not who you are.
So we’ll continue to stress good grades and good effort. And the money for grades will wait.