So which is better when it comes to raising kids?  Establishing high expectations with their grades and then experiencing disappointment when they blow a test?  Or lowering the bar and then when they blow a test or a grade you smile and say ‘no big deal’?  Which is the better approach?  Curious as to your thoughts...  Here are my thoughts that have evolved over the years through my own experiences and observations:

First, I need to lay some groundwork...  ‘Fear’ can be an inhibitor to progress or improvement:  The fear of failure, the fear of consequences of a failure, the fear of embarrassment, the fear of ridicule, the fear of loss of friends, the fear of the unknown...  if you allow yourself to be overcome with fear, then you will avoid opportunities to learn and develop.

Learning requires the absence of fear.  It requires that you open yourself up, listen, make inquiries, validate through lab exercises or tests, willingness to circle back and understand what you missed and assimilate new information.  Wisdom then is taking those learning’s, knowledge and information and applying them in meaningful and positive manner as you move on to the next experience of life.

I would love for all my children to realize how great and wonderful they are—and that if they put their mind to it, and put forth the effort, they can improve most aspects of their life.  I say most, because they will not be able to add inches to their height nor other physical improvements—but they can improve and increase their talents, knowledge, mental abilities, spirituality, etc.  The key is to be willing to sacrifice who they are now for who they can become.  I want each of them to have the confidence to try new things-regardless of how good they are-that they will experience and continue to develop the learning process in their life.

So, with that groundwork established, I do like setting high expectations.  Not all my children have the same talents and abilities, however, they can still get that ‘A’ if they want to but it may take more work or a different approach due to their uniqueness.  So I want to set the expectation for them to push to climb the mountain-to drive themselves to do all they can do-to go beyond what they thought was possible-because when they push themselves to those points, they get to find out what they are really made of—but as for me, I will be the parent, that will be there to compliment, to encourage, to cheer and to step aside and give them the center stage when they succeed. 

And when they blow the test, or fall down, or miss the shot at the buzzer, or forget their lines, or sing the wrong note, or hit the wrong key, or fail the test, or get a B, or get a ticket in a construction zone, or get a ticket for not slowing down and moving over when a police car is on the side of the road, or get in an accident, or have a bad day—I will be there to give them a hug and try my best to be patient and keep my head focused on them and keep the ‘event’ in proper perspective.   

Life is good!