Kids take their cues from us to a large extent. Something happens and they look to us on how to react. Think of a child falling down and getting a little scrape. He or she is rattled, but looks up to Mom or Dad to find out — is this a big deal? Is this something to cry about? Or is it just a run of the mill part of life?
If a parent runs with every fall, then little Susy begins to think that this is a major upset and starts to cry all the more. If a parent says, “I’m sure you’re fine. Stand up and rub it off.” Then Susy begins to take little tumbles in stride.
The same is true about various events that can end up intense. As they get older, students pick up even subtle cues. Think of the ERB Tests. Many kids hate tests just as a general rule. Others look at each test like a competitive sport. Much of that is the child’s temperament. But the level of tension usually comes from us.  Since we are changing things around, encouraging good sleep and eating, and easing up on schoolwork, students already tend to sense that these tests could be a big deal.
But the ERB test is not really about a child’s individual score. This grade does not show up on the report card, nor does it reflect on an individual student. ERB is more like an all school picture. The school picture simply memorializes where these kids were on one particular day in one particular year. We sit down with the yearbook and look back at this panoramic snapshot. The farther back the shot, the more interesting it is to see how much one’s child has changed, to see how kids have grown, etc.
Nobody gets uptight over getting this picture taken. (Maybe uptight over trying to tame bed-hair, trying to keep the school shirt clean, and trying to get to school on time.) But the picture itself? Meh. No big deal.
Think of other stressful days — sports tournaments for instance. By the time a child gets into the tournament, a whole season of coaching has gone before it. The child probably has learned most if not all that the child will need in the competition. Or driving over to school to take the college board test — PSAT, SAT, CLT, etc. A student has been working on getting prepped for the big day.
Unless your child is a slacker, he or she probably doesn’t need to be told how important a big game or tournament is, they don’t need to be reminded that the standardized test shows what they have learned for the whole school year, they don’t need you to emphasize them that a college entrance exam has a lot riding on its success.
I strongly believe that what is needed is stored up in the brain already. On test days and in tournaments, one needs to relax and rely on the practice and study that has already been done leading to this point. Stress just causes kids to choke.
We’d like to ask you to relax when talking about the tests. Please be careful not to add to their stress by saying — “we really need you to do your best.” These scores will not matter in their life in the long run. They are just a snapshot on what they know and remember on a given day and the more relaxed they are, the better students usually perform.
What should a parent do? Remember that your child is taking his/her cue from you. Project confidence. “You’ve got this.” Do you have a nervous child? Again, project confidence. Pray together and give the outcome to God. Pray for God’s glory and for God to work through the student. God is the Great Educator. He already knows everything. He knows the answer for every test. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring back to your child’s memory the things that have already been stored up. 
If one’s child has been unfaithful in preparation, then that is on that particular child. But if one has been faithful, God promises to help your child — if you are faithful in little things, He will set you over more to show your success. (Parables of the Talents and the Minahs.)
I hope we can relax together. The ERB is an opportunity, not a show stopper. Same thing with many things in life. May God bless us as we lead our children through the many things that life throws at them, Christopher
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