by Rebecca Kocsis 

Published in OTCS News January 2009. Used by permission from the author.

I have found that as I fill out my children’s report cards, I am usually tempted to assign myself a grade as the teacher. I have a pre-planned formula using my children’s compiled schoolwork and test scores to arrive at their final grades. For my own evaluation, though, I go about it differently. 

I don’t have any written scores. I do have quite a compilation of memories to go on. I remember very clearly losing my patience during reading lessons, the mornings we didn’t get started until 10:30 because I overslept (either accidentally or on purpose), the weeks we never did do art or history or anything beyond reading and math. How well I remember the stupid mistakes, the science experiments gone bad, the literature lessons nobody understood, the expensive math curriculum I didn’t use because I couldn’t figure it out—and it was only for kindergarten! Then depending on how hormonal I was am at the time, I had either failed or failed miserably. I give myself a big, fat F! I know I’m not the only woman who does this. 

Why are we so hard on ourselves? We are usually more than willing to extend grace to others. We go out of our way to encourage other home educators, then turn around and commit homeschool hari-kari! We don’t get the same grace. We tell others, “It’s okay. Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.” 

Yet we still require perfection of ourselves. Now where’s the logic in that? Especially when you stop to consider that our Heavenly Father doesn’t condemn us for our lack of perfection. He sees the two conflicting natures struggling within us and declares, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 7:14-8:1) Through Jesus, He simply forgives us. 

We will always make stupid mistakes. We will continue to lose our patience. We will oversleep again—on purpose. I’ve said in the past that our failures need not be fatal. Let me say it a different way. The pursuit of perfection is futile. If you are never satisfied with anything less than perfection, you will never be satisfied! We will always encounter personal and practical failures. We live in an imperfect world. God made us the way we are so we would see our need for Him! Perfect people don’t need God. 

So remember when you fill out your children’s report cards, you don’t need to give yourself a grade. Jesus already did. He gave you an F—but not for Failure. He gave you an F for Forgiven.