Posts Tagged ‘keep hope alive’

“Destroying False Evidence!” – Doc Meek


Image from:

“Destroying False Evidence!” – Doc Meek

Children in school very early on make the culturally-induced mistake of thinking that their school marks and their report card marks are a measure of their intelligence.

This false perception proves to be a minor error for some children and a major life-crippling error for others. What?

Report cards can be life-crippling instruments?

Yes, because the children (and society at large) believe–falsely–that the report card is an accurate measure of the child’s intelligence. Or at least an accurate measure of the child’s effort. Or both.

Thus a poor report card reflects on the child in two negative ways. It is thought that the report card marks prove that the child is either smart or not smart, or is making a good effort or is not making a good effort.

Locked in like a death grip

How can a good report card mislead a child?

The stories of well-educated and smart people–on the basis of their school marks–who fail in the workplace and/or in life are legion.

Some children brought to see me at THE LEARNING CLINIC are so locked into the false evidence of the report card that these children—on the basis of their report cards from school—believe they are both stupid and lazy.

I am certain the school does not intend to teach children that they are stupid and/or lazy.

What is to be done?

Sometimes drastic measures are necessary to demonstrate dramatically to the child that there is a solid disconnect between a school report card and their own intelligence and effort.  

One child brought to me (let’s call him Harold, not his real name) had spent the first 4 or 5 years in elementary school and still had not learned to read.

Harold’s report cards were abysmal. And Harold felt dismal.

Both stupid and lazy?

Harold felt—and knew it was true—he was both stupid and lazy.

Harold’s father—a very frustrated and very angry parent—thankfully was convinced that everybody was missing something important. He just didn’t know what it was.

Harold’s father said he had positive out-of-school evidence that Harold was very smart.

Harold could not see it. He was adamant that he was stupid and lazy. His report cards proved it. All D’s and F’s for years.

The father was equally adamant that there was a solution. He insisted that I find a way to “get to the bottom of this mess!”

Soaring and crashing

 So the father found a reading buddy for Harold and I taught them both how to use specific strategies to overcome the worst aspects of Harold’s inability to read—his dyslexia as some would call it.

Dyslexia is just a label—a label for observed reading difficulties. There are as many different kinds of dyslexia as there are children.

Both Harold and Tom (not his real name) practiced a specific strategy faithfully together for 15 minutes every day and reported back to me on Saturdays. They would then continue that same strategy for another week, or learn a new strategy.

These strategies were of all kinds: intellectual, visual, auditory, emotional, kinesthetic, beliefs, etc. We used the whole body and the whole mind. All happy and hopeful strategies. (For detailed specifics, see The Gift of Dyslexia, by Ronald Davis.)

Harold loved it. He was succeeding for the first time at mental tasks.

All went reasonably well and Harold’s marks at school soared. Finally Harold’s work at school was going so well that the reading pair stopped reporting to me weekly.

This is usually a good sign.

Crashed and crushed

 Then one day Harold and his father arrived at my office like a great wind.

Father was in high dudgeon and Harold was so hang-dog I was very concerned for him. He looked even more defeated than when I saw him the first time in my office.

“What’s the matter?” I ventured.

Dad shoved a report card into my hands. Harold had just brought it home from school the day before.

I glanced at it. Mostly D’s and F’s. I quickly set the report card aside.

Dad explained that he had gone to the school to complain. The school explained that it was a mathematical averaging thing. They explained that Harold’s recent good marks were mathematically overwhelmed by the multitude of bad marks previously. It was school policy to average marks over time.

You would think that someone might have had the courage (or simply the common sense) to ignore the bad past and put the present good into place on a suffering kid’s  report card. It is, after all, just a piece of paper, right?

Sometimes it is imperative to ignore “standard policy” or “standard practice” and remember the first purpose of education is to serve the child, not worship some mathematical algorithm.

 Drastic measures needed

 I tried reasoning with Harold:

“But look, you and Tom practiced those reading strategies faithfully every day and you know you learned to read quite well. You know you were reading quite well! Your Dad knows it. Your teacher knows it. And I know it and you know it. Right?”

Harold was unmoved. Locked in total despair. The report card proved he was right–he was stupid and lazy, just like always.

I grabbed the report card, shook it in front of Harold’s face, and roared, “Who cares what they think! You know better!”

I stood up, tore the report card to pieces, and hurled the pieces into the far corner of the office.

Dad was startled (to say the least).

Harold was impressed!

The evidence was destroyed right in front of him 

Report cards had been the bane of his existence ever since he had started school.

An instrument of torture, defeat and proof of stupidity.

All that evidence—gone to wrack and ruin in the far corner of my office.

The vital necessity of keeping hope alive (at all costs)

So Harold sent back to school with high hope in his heart, and with his confidence in the truth of report cards decimated forever.

Wouldn’t you know it? Harold continued to thrive in school. 😮

 Doc Meek, Learning Specialist

Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Fri, May 30, 2014

.EPILOGUE: A couple of days later, Dad arrived in my office alone, looking a little sheepish. “I need to sign that report card and take it back to the school,” he said. I was hoping he would aid and abet the demise of the report card, but he just couldn’t do it.

Fortunately the caretaker had not made his usual rounds to clean up my office.

So there we were in my office, a couple of guys gathering up pieces of report card, and scotch taping them back together like some weird puzzle. 😮


The Fine Art of Transparent Watercolor Paintings, Rose Art, Pressed Flower Pictures and Art Prints by Irene Hannestad; photo from: ……………………………………………………………………………………….

Learn to connect the “4-H’s” of education: Head/Heart/Hands/Hope

Today, Saturday, July 10,  2010, we are fortunate to have a guest article on “HOPE” by Catherine Wilkes. Catherine is both a certified school teacher and a registered psychologist practicing in St. Albert and Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA.

She leads delightful workshops “everywhere,” demonstrating good teaching practices and the importance of good HOPE as an active learning ingredient.

One of the keys to Catherine’s effectiveness as a teacher and as a counselor is her engagement of HOPE as an integral part of what she and her clients do. For Catherine, HOPE is not purely an intellectual concept. She lives it. She walks her talk.

Thank you Catherine! We are grateful for your example in our lives and in the lives of schoolchildren everywhere!

Article and photos from: C. Wilkes Associates Inc.,

WHAT IS HOPE?”Hope is looking forward with both confidence and unsureness to something good. When we hope, we anticipate that something we want to happen can indeed happen. Even if it’s unlikely, it’s still possible. Even if others do not see things as we do, we’re still convinced what we hope for, can still come true. Will it happen for sure? No one can say. Yet when it’s unlikely, that is no reason for us to stop hoping. It is no reason to surrender the future we have envisioned.
When we hope, we expect the future can somehow be better, no matter what our present condition is. And should that future turn out to be other than we imagined, all is not lost. For when we hope the present is also affected.

As much as anything, hope helps us live with the unpredictability we must face from time to time in our lives. It serves as a companion when the future is unclear. Hope stays with us and heartens us when our options appear unlimited. When the possibilities seem to diminish, it harkens us to see life as it may become.”

WHY DO WE HOPE?”We hope because it is essential to the quality of our life – as essential as is breath to our physical existence. When we hope, we are willing to get up one more time when we fall down. We are willing to give ourselves one more chance, again and again.

With hope we can deepen as a human being.
With hope we can find meaning in how we respond to what has happened to us.
With hope, whatever the outcome, we can go on.”

Resource: Jevne, R. F., & E. Miller (1999). Finding hope: Ways to see life in a brighter light. Fort Wayne, Indiana: Willowgreen Publishing.

Thank you, Catherine Wilkes! ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“[HOPE*] is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

*FAITH is the word Tagore used. Quotation from:

Here’s to HOPE!

Doc Meek, Saturday, July 10, 2010, at Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. A  final insight from Vaclav Havel, via Catherine’s website:

“Hope is not the conviction

that something will turn out well,

but the certainty that something makes sense,

regardless of how it turns out.”

~ Vaclav Havel

J Collins Meek, PhD
>>> “What if you are smarter than you think?” >>>

Associate Links:

CANADA: PO Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1
US: 3688 W 9800 S, #138, South Jordan, UT 84095-3260
Phone: (801) 971-1812 (Jeannette); Fax : [801] 282-6026

International callers first enter the country code (+1)
and then enter the Phone and/or Fax number above

Contact Doc Meek

    January 2021
    S M T W T F S
    Parent and Teacher Choice