meeting your expectations

February 2, 2012

A traveler stopped at the city gates and inquired, “What are the people like who live here?”

The gate keeper replied with a question of his own, “What kind of people live in the village you are from?”

The traveler replied, “It is a lovely place with lovely people.  Friendly, caring and hsopitable.”

“I think you will find the same kind of people here.”

Soon another traveler stopped and asked the same question.  Unsurprisingly he recieved the same question in return.

“The town I am from is filled with selfish, greedy, mean people,”  he snorted.

“I think you will find the same kind of people here.”

Have you noticed, we surround ourselves mostly with people like ourselves?  People with similar aspirations and hopes; even similar personalities.  We should considet this when we choose a path of child-rearing, or even when we place ourselves in a position to influence children.   If we want them to move in a particular direction, we  would do well to be moving in that direction as well.  And rather than enphasize behavior we don’t want, we should point to the things we want to see.  We need to define success, not failure.

Chapter three of The End of Molasses Glasses is titled:  Define your expectations and then raise the bar; the more you expect, the better the results will be.

I could cite several compelling quotes from the book, but then you would have no reason to pick up a copy for yourself.  (Or try to win one by commenting on this post.)  But the title alone of this chapter is so full of truth.  You see it everywhere, from our current president, who seems to think he can win an election with class warfare instead of offering opportunity, to schools who dumb down curriculum to the lowest common denomenator.  We often see average avalanchend in applause, and in so doing we are saying that average is good enough, when in fact it isn’t.  Is it?

If we are clear in our expectations, no one, not children, not parents can complain.   When we reward mediocraty we will train to mediocraty.  If we reward excellence, we will train to excellence.

Other countries are gaining or surpassing the U.S. educationally because they are raising the bar, holding out high standards and expectations, while we are offering free government handouts, taken from people who set and achieved high standards.

However, we, you and I, can change that.  “The more we ask of America’s children, the more they will achieve, and if we aren’t pushing them acedemically, then we aren’t giving them the tools and skills they will need to compete with other students globally who will be more prepared for the jobs of the future.”*

Teach your children well.  Have high hopes and expectations.  Help your children to live up to your dreams, not down to them.  We should have the same kind of plans for our children that God has for us, as expressed by the prophet Jeremiah:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11


Ron L. Clark, The End of Molasses Glasses,  2011, Touchstone Books

* Page 18


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