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! 
 


Comments

Tracey Larson
11/03/2011 10:01

I agree that we should set high expectations because I think we try harder when we have high expectations. I don't think that you need to berate yourself or others when they don't achieve the expectations the first time because that can harbor ill feelings towards others and yourself. But I think that setting goals is setting a high expectation and something you want to do to better yourself. When we don't care or think that mediocre is fine then there really isn't any learning or progressing done in this life and therefore we aren't progressing toward our eternal goal to live with our Heavenly Father. Just some thoughts.

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Bill Johnson
11/03/2011 10:23

Gary,

We raised 5 kiddos. We have seen in general the consequences in the US of low expectations (I.E. Outcome based education, no child left behind, etc.) set for students' performance. US has fallen woefully behind our own standards in testing scores and overall competitiveness with rest of the world. We have also found no amount of money changes this.

In our own family, we have high expectations of our kids because we have felt that our goal as parents is that when the kids turn 18, they need need to be ready to take on the world and thus need to have the proper tools. So our kids throughout middle and high school have gotten themselves up in the mornings, get their own bfast, and are responsible for their study habits and schoolastic results. It is important that what goes hand in hand with high expectation is positive encouragement. Too often, parents use negative encouragement or criticysm to complement high expectations. I dont think that works.

All of our kids have had gpa's between 3.4 and 4.1. However, we have also helped them to understand that success is measured in many ways. Test scores, results in sports, quality of friendships, spirituality, and a number of other elements go into measure of success...so the elements vary from person to person. So that the success elements (metrics?) that might be important to one of our sons, could/should be different from the elements of one of our daughters.

With all of that being said, having high and realistic expectations of our kids sends a message that we as parents have confidence in you to succeed. Then it is our job to assist where needed and provide tools for them to succeed. So far, this has worked for us.

Just our $.02.

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11/09/2016 06:15

I agree with you we should set high expectation because this make us hardworking and ambitious. So don't make your expectation are lower.

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Nice article, glad to read your views, very impressive and inspiring thoughts is written here. If we set high goals defiantly we will try to achieve, so always try to get the best.

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