How many report cards you should have?

When I was growing up as a kid, one of the most uncomfortable period is when I have to show my report cards to my parents. Those are the times either I get praises or caning. Moving up to university level, my relationship with report cards mean either I get to complete my tertiary education in time or get stuck until I improve my grades.

Phew! No longer have to worry about academic report cards after I left school and 9 to 5 job.... till now, as a parent, I have to scan my son's report card.

To be honest, I hate dealing with report cards. For me, academic report card is a form of behavioral control tool imposed on me by other people - teachers, lecturers, parents and peers( friends like to poke into my academic results ).

As an adult now, I can't help but to notice many people still obsessed about their own academic report card. Instead of being written by teachers, coaches or parents, they write their own "academic report card" in the form of resume and Linkedin profile. Maybe they are still yearning for the praises or canning. :P

My own reason for why so many people are obsessed with their academic report card or resume is because academic report card is the easiest to measure and the first to be used by adults to measure a child's performance.

Here is a sample of a report card, in case you have forgotten how a report card looks like:

a sample report card

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Because of many years of programming by schools, most people leave schools or entering working age carrying in their subconscious mind to only do well academically or to put in bluntly .... to continue pleasing their teachers/managers/bosses or superiors. They inherited this type of behavior from parents and teachers. Most will likely propagate to their next generations.

In the work place, it is common to find many companies that perform a year-end appraisal(evaluation) on every employee to measure their performance and use the evaluation metric as a yard stick for salary adjustment or to be next candidate for layoff.

Employees advertise their own skills set by creating their own resume. Employees are told to have polished resume and LinkedIn profile in order to advance their career. For example, in the programming world, most developers are trained to master new technique and programming languages. Trouble is... when it is the time to stop and when is the time to look beyond collecting experience for your resume or Linkedin profile?

We were taught at school to emulate students with good academic results and good behaviour. Anything else is not acceptable. We were taught to follow a straight path. However, the reality sets in the moment we leave school... it is a jungle out there.

after school/college/university... life is a jungle

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However, report cards should not be limited to work or academic sector alone. Not all report cards are bad. If report cards are interpreted correctly and the measurements data collected in the report card is useful, why not use report cards to improve our quality of life?

How many people are looking after their own health and financial report cards?

In the "jungle", academic report card can only get you to certain places... that's landing you a job(if the economy is doing well). If you want to raise fund or get a loan to start a business, your excellent academic report card won't be much help. (To get straight to the point, try walking into any financial institutions such as a bank with your academic report card and try to get a loan. Get it?)

Improving your health and financial report card will carry you far in the "jungle".

It is strange to see that many people don't know(or don't care) about their own health and financial report cards. Most people will only care about their own health report card when they encounter serious health problem. Like wise, if you want to start caring about your own financial report card... the best thing that might trigger this is when you got fired from your job, lost the sole breadwinner in your family or suffer serious cash problem.

Health report card.

The best advice that you can get for your health report card is from your trusted doctor. Do health checkup on a regular interval to maintain your only "vehicle" - your body. Simple as that.

Financial report card.

This type of report card is where many people struggle with. To explain how to do a proper financial report is beyond the scope of this article. You can refer to how a cash flow statement looks like in Wikipedia or read some books related to financial education.

For now, as a parent trying to teach my son on how to create a simple financial report card, I'll use the template that I found from Google Adsense with some modifications.

To keep things simple, the financial report card only have 6 columns:

Estimated earnings this **month, Earnings for this week and Earnings for last week.**


Estimated expenses this **month, Expenses for this week and Expenses for last week.**

My son earnings are allowances from me when he helps to keep the house clean.... such as helping to throw away his baby sister's diapers and helping to put back his toys into IKEA storage container. His expenses will be the money used to purchase his toys... but since I don't want to mess up his childhood too much..... I'll have to keep the expenses columns away for now and introduce them to him later. Doing this on monthly interval should be sufficient to get him to understand and able to read numbers.

The objective is to get my son to increase his earnings and lowering or suppressing his expenses. Hopefully, his will get use to this exercise as he grows up.

For those of you that are starting to write your own financial report cards, I would suggest that you use the simple format that I've introduced to my son and gradually move on to higher level such as a balance sheet( download here ).

F for Fail or Financial?

F grade for fail or financial?

What if you or your children keep getting F grade in academic report card? Instead of punishing yourself or your kids, look from another side of the coin. Take it as a reminder to look after your FINANCIAL report card. If you or your children didn't do well academically, it is not the end of the world. It is just a sign to take another path and polish up your FINANCIAL report card.

Spiritual report card.

The last report card - your spiritual report card. Have you helped someone out of compassion lately? Have you donated to charities that you support lately? Have you rescued some distressed animals?

Chances are you will never find out how good is your spiritual report card.

However, your soul should be able to let you know by feeling good if you have done something nice for your spiritual report card and that's a good thing?

Yes? Please share this article.

  See also : Financial education with Command and Conquer game

By AdamNg

IF you gain some knowledge or the information here solved your programming problem. Please consider donating to the less fortunate or some charities that you like. Apart from donation, planting trees, volunteering or reducing your carbon footprint will be great too.