Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
We all have them. High hopes. dreams of the future, expectations of the people in our lives; goals for work, for personal achievement and satisfaction. Nothing wrong with that–most of the time.
Often, the people I see in my counseling office are there because they’ve had hopes crushed, dreams denied. Their expectations have not risen to the level they had established, and now they’re depressed, perhaps angry, and they don’t know how to deal with their crushed expectations.
I don’t think I would agree completely with Shakespeare on this statement, but it is often true that our expectations, when not achieved, bring us great heartache.
Take our children, for instance. Every set of expectant parents tends to have THE PERFECT CHILD in their minds. Their child will personify every dream they’ve ever had. The child will be brilliant, gifted, talented, handsome or beautiful, renowned for the goodness of character, and so on and on.
And then the baby turns out to be just an ordinary person, with all the positives and negatives that contained therein, and the parents are disappointed. Their expectations did not come to fruition. They have an ordinary kids who does pretty well, but makes not marks on history and even gets into trouble now and then.
Should they be disappointed? I don’t think so. I think they had piled a lot of unreasonable pressure on this poor baby, and when he didn’t rise to meet their exaggerated expectations, they were disappointed, even feeling the child was deliberately letting them down. The fault lay in the parents’ unrealistic expectations, not in the child’s lack of brilliance.
But aren’t there things we should expect of our children? Yes, of course. But the child will not be born with those things in place. They need to be taught. They need to be lived out in front of the child. They need to be instilled in the child through consistent training and discipline when needed. Parenting is a lot of work, and expectant parents would do well to understand that they are NOT getting ready to produce the next Wonder of the World. They need to set their expectations on that which is achievable through giving the child the best atmosphere possible as he grows up; they need to set their own expectations at a reasonable, achievable level so that neither they nor the child will feel like failures for the rest of their lives.
And who knows? Maybe that child WILL become the next Einstein, or Tchaikovsky, or Monet, or DaVinci. Or maybe she will grow up to marry a man she loves, rear normal children, and find contentment in the ordinary. Having high hopes is fine; having unreasonably high expectations/demands of someone who hasn’t even been born yet is not fine. It sets up the playing field for conflict, disappointment, and frustration. As the child grows and develops, she should definitely be encouraged to follow whatever her talents seem to be.
Encouraged, not forced.