Online access to grades – yay or nay?

a-grade

The ability to check my children’s grades online and the weekly emails from their teachers have made me feel like an enabler and contributed to the possibility of me being helicopter-ish.

It’s true. I like the “real-time” check on how my children are doing, and that I am “in the know” on what they are studying and if they have an upcoming test or not (because they sure don’t tell me.)

But here’s the rub. I get an email from a teacher about a vocabulary quiz on Friday. I feel like I need to ask my child “Did you know you have a quiz on Friday? Did you study? Where are the vocab words?”

In reality, my child should be responsible and pay attention in class and already know this. And he probably did. But if he didn’t, I have just saved him from a bad grade, a possible lesson in reality. Is anyone going to do that for him in college? Is his mommy going to remind him about finals when he is 20 years old? Or that he has that big presentation at work the next morning?

Let’s talk about the online grade card. It’s great. It’s better than only seeing your grade every nine weeks, like back in 1986. I can see every worksheet, quiz, test and project and the final grade. So if my child had an A in math, and then starts getting Ds and Fs on assignments, I will know right away and can talk to him to correct the problem.

On the other hand, shouldn’t my child be accountable and realize he is getting these not-so-great grades and make an effort HIMSELF? Without me telling him?

What if I see that his grades are slipping, but don’t say anything to him? Am I a horrible parent? I would assume he would know – do I just wait until he says something? Let him suffer the consequences? Tough love?

My head would say tough love, my heart would by breaking…

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Create value often

value

This originally appeared on CUinsight.com. It is written for credit unions, but the advice can be used for any organization.

I attended a conference last month and one of the speakers said this:

“Create more value for more people more often, so when it’s time to choose, they choose you.”

This couldn’t be more true. This means if you regularly provide folks with information, resources, advice (whatever it may be) they will remember you when it’s time to make a buying decision…or when they are ready to switch financial institutions.

The good news is you are probably already doing this! Here’s three simple, yet effective ideas to keep you top of mind to your consumers.

Offer a free download.
Have a budgeting seminar? Offer a free toolkit or e-book with a budgeting worksheet or five budgeting tips. Go one step further and offer information about credit score, or another personal finance information…something a consumer can really use. Share it on social and post it on your website and people will remember to go there for information.

Weekly tips.
Offer a tip here and there (social media is a great place to post these) and your audience will remember you when they need you. For example, let’s say a member follows you on Facebook. He’s a teacher at a local school. He sees you offering advice or free downloads. The school wants to offer financial literacy seminars. Who do you think he’ll think of? You, of course!

Media resource.
Submit an article or provide a relevant story idea to your local media. It’s no secret journalists are strapped for time and resources. By offering ideas to them, the next time they have a story related to your industry, they’ll contact you first. Just be sure to follow up with them in a timely manner!

There are countless other ways to create value for consumers. Be creative! And remember it takes time. If your content is helpful, informative or entertaining, consumers will take note.

Update: Everyone is a winner.

IMG_6072After cleaning his room, I found this pile of medals outside my 12 year old’s room.

“What are these doing here?” I asked him.

“I don’t want them anymore,” he replied.

“You don’t want any of these? Why not?”

“There’s too many…”

This is exactly what I was talking about in this post. By awarding him a medal for “participating,” the medals mean nothing. Some of these medals are for winning, but because he got a medal whether he won or not, those medals are discarded just like the others.

Medals, ribbons and trophies meant something when I was a kid. It meant you performed better than the other kids. It meant you tried your best and was the best. It doesn’t matter if it’s the class spelling bee or a state-wide competition. The point is you worked hard, studied, trained, whatever…to earn that ribbon or medal. Only the select few were awarded them. And you were proud.

Fast forward to 2015: Kids don’t care about those awards because they’ve been taught that just by “participating” or “showing up,” they are deserving of something.

I’m not the only one with the “only winners get medals” mentality. A recent poll said 57 percent of Americans think only winners should be rewarded. But here’s where it gets interesting.  When respondents were broken down by age, younger respondents (those 18-24) liked the idea of participation trophies, while the older generations thought the opposite. Is it because that’s how the younger generation grew up?  Because that’s what we have taught them?

As I mentioned in my previous post, in the real world a reward for “showing up” or “doing your job” doesn’t exist. Why do we act like it does?