Getting bad grades doesn't mean you're bad.
It doesn't mean you're stupid.
It doesn't mean you can't like school.
It just means it's time to get out the toolbox.
Now, you might think that's crazy. There's not a toolbox for better grades.
But there really is. You might not have noticed it, but it's right where you are.
Think about the kind of tools you need to fix things. If you had to fix a machine, you might need a screwdriver. If you had to cut some wood, you'd need a saw. If you have to wash your hair, you need shampoo.
So, what tools are available to help you get better grades?
Don't get tricked here. Don't just say you need a better brain, a nicer teacher, or even more time. Because the tools you need are ones you actually already have. The tools you have to work with are good thoughts and abilities from God. God's tool-box includes things like patience. Sooo? you might ask. How does that help?
Well, patience says, "Don't run away to do something else. Stop and look again." Patience says, "Remember what your teacher said about this assignment, because then you can understand it better."
When you're patient, you aren't thinking about how little time you have. Patience makes you ask, "How can I enjoy this work instead of wishing it were over?"
Another tool in God's toolbox is humility. Being humble is thanking God for giving you and everyone else intelligence. Believe it or not, when bad grades hurt your feelings and make you feel stupid, humility comes to the rescue. It helps you to remember that intelligence belongs to God and you have it because God has it.
Humility helps you feel God's love for you and appreciate the way people are loving and helping you, too. When you're humble, you know you're not doing your school work on your own - God is right there, helping you. You can ask God to show you what information is important. Instead of getting mad, you can ask God to guide you.
There are lots of other tools in God's toolbox, like humor and persistence and love. And the more you know about God, the easier it is to find His tools.
For example, God is Truth, so everyone has the ability to know what's true and what's false on a test.
God is Mind, so everybody can listen and concentrate.
God is Love, so people have the help they need to correct their mistakes and show them how to do the assignments better.
God's toolbox is filled with good thoughts, ready to use all the time. These tools tell you over and over again: you're good and you know it.
You have the patience to think clearly, and you know it. You have the humility to keep asking God for ideas, and you know it. You like to learn things at school, and you know it. Your toolbox might be a secret just between you and God, but you know it's always there to help you. And when you use the tools in it, it helps other people, too, like your teacher, your mom, or your dad. It might even help your friends find out they have the same toolbox from God that you do.
You don't have to be afraid of your next quiz or report. Use your tools while you study and learn, and don't forget to enjoy yourself the whole time!
The ideas in this article are explored more fully in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society