I wasn’t expecting Olivia to bring home her report card today. Even more than that, I wasn’t expecting her to have a “C.” Not that I think she should have all As and Bs, but I guess I just assumed she would make the honor roll as easily as her brothers did. As disappointed as I felt inside, I did crack up when the words that came out of her mouth as she handed me her report card were, “It’s just a little “C,” like they come in different sizes or even upper and lower case. I tried not to laugh, because I knew she was embarrassed.

Here’s the truth. I don’t want to measure Olivia by her grades. I don’t know all of the factors that played into this outcome. Did she have a lot of subs? Was she sick on the day of a test? Did Nick’s illness cause her to worry while at school? Is she staying up too late and getting sleepy during class? These are questions I may never know the answer to. So measuring Olivia by a single grade on a report card seems a little unfair. On the other hand, I do want to measure Olivia by her level of effort. Does she do her homework? Does she study for tests? Does she have a good attitude during class? Is she respectful of her teacher and classmates? These are the things that matter to me as a mom.

I remember having a student who was often a behavior problem. We never heard from his mom when we tried to call with concerns. Then report cards went home, and he had a B. His mother was livid. The boy cried in fear of his mom before leaving school. She said “Bs” were not acceptable.

As I look back on this emotional day as a teacher, I can’t help but look at Olivia’s face and see her heart. Yes, she received a C. I think she can do much better next time. However, instead of focusing on the past grades, my husband and I have decided to focus on the future. I met with Olivia’s teacher. We have a plan for receiving news of any concerns from her teacher. We are moving her homework station to her bedroom where it is quiet. Olivia knows that she needs to get serious about school. She knows there is a team of people cheering her on and that we are going to hold her accountable.

Shouldn’t church be like this? When we see someone mess up, why don’t we help them instead of judge them. Why do we get angry? Why do we look at the past?

This “little C” from Olivia has reminded me of the big “Cs” we need to have at church for our Christian brothers and sisters: compassion, care, concern, commitment. As we help Olivia succeed in school, I want to make a committed effort to helping my friends at church succeed in living for Christ.

Thank you, God, for speaking through little Cs!!!!