I just finished reading my son's final report card and I can't stop smiling at what was a glowing review. His school provides a comprehensive breakdown in which they offer a grade for various skills. Those marks were outstanding, but they aren't what made me smile.
The thing that did it for me was the one page writeup his teachers provided about him. In short they said that he is a mensch, that he is a boy of great character and that is what makes me happy. Sure, it helps that he received excellent grades for his academic performance, but I really am more concerned about the intangibles.
Academics are important. It is critical that he masters the skills that they pass along there. Math, science, English etc, they play a huge role. But I never doubted his ability, biased or not I know that he is smart enough to handle the work.
But it is the character issues that I am most concerned about. The ability to interact with others is more than just icing on the cake. Those are the skills that enable you to do more than just float through life.
Sure it is important to have all of the academic tools. One day he'll join the workforce and those academic skills will help ensure that he does his work well. But it is the social skills that will make the difference. The ability to know when to speak your mind and when to hold your tongue. The ability to work independently is important, but so is knowing how to be a team player.
Because in reality skill is not necessarily as important as luck or who you know. We all know of people who are in positions that they don't really deserve, but because people like them they make it work.
As far as the big kid goes, I am thrilled that he has a handle on both sides. Life can be rough, so you need to have as many resources as you can muster.