I've often been told that my expectations for my children are too high. That I'm too hard on them. In some areas, I agree, I need to let up. However, I expect that when my children are in a learning situation, they will be respectful and follow directions. I actually expect this out of everyone's children. Maybe it's because I was a former teacher, I don't know. Whatever the reason, I am constantly shocked by the poor behavior of other children in these situations. Now, before you think that I'm saying my kids are perfect, believe me, that's not what I'm saying AT ALL! They are not perfect and I'm quite embarrassed by their behavior on many occasions. However, I am extremely proud of my children, especially Monster, when they are in a learning environment. Whether that be swim lessons, soccer, music, school, etc., they sit and listen to the instructor and do what is expected of them.
The reason I'm reflecting on this is because of the current situation that is going on in Monster's swim lessons. There are a total of 4 children in Monster's group. Before the very first lesson even began, two of the children's mother comes up and warns the 16 year old instructor that her son will not sit on the wall and her daughter may not even get in. She also warned the teacher that her son doesn't listen and bit a child in the last session. She then looks at me and says, "So, I'm sorry if my son bites your kid". Um, really? Then, she leaves to go work out. Here is my expectation, and I don't believe it's unreasonable, if you know your children won't listen and will most likely hurt others, 1) stay and monitor the situation, or, even better, 2) don't let them take swim lessons. In my house, swim lessons are a privilege. If Monster wasn't attentive and doing what he was told, he wouldn't go. That wouldn't really be the case though because I'm the parent who sits, watches, and corrects behavior if necessary. And, I'm please to say that I've only had to correct behavior about 3 times in the past year and half. Again, not saying Monster is the best behaved child, but, at swim lessons, he sits on the wall, focuses on the teacher, and doesn't play around. Same with soccer, t-ball, art, music, and bible camp. We're working on school, but he's not the worst one, which is a plus.
I expect my children to be better for other people than they are for me. Sunshine is a handful. She is most definitely a strong willed child. I used to be very nervous to leave her with anyone since she's so difficult. When I finally left her, she was fine. Everyone who watches her tells me how good she was. I'm always amazed. How can she be so pig headed and temperamental for me and sweet and sunny for others? It makes me happy to know that I'm doing something right when my children are so good for others.
I have a lot of expectations about respect. Probably too long to really get into. However, I believe that we, as civilized people, should treat everyone with respect. We should also respect the earth and the world around us. We should respect differences in each other. We should respect other's views, not agree, but respect (with a valid argument) I believe that with respect comes compassion, charity, and humility. It shocks me when people that I know are so completely self-centered that they do not have the least bit of respect for others around them. I know people who have never taught their children charity because they believe that they deserve everything that they have and why should they help other people out if it doesn't benefit them (seriously, not exaggerating, really know people like that). I don't get it. Isn't the point of having, to give back what you can? So maybe you can give up a $5 coffee and buy the $0.29 cent can of beans from Buehlers and donate it to a food pantry. Nope, that's too much to ask of some people.
I expect follow through from people. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you don't want to do something, don't volunteer. Don't make up last minute excuses. Don't lie about it. If you forgot, own up to it. Believe me, I'd forget my head most of the time if it wasn't attached, but I do what I say I'm going to do. It may take a while, but I'll get around to it and I'll apologize for the wait or own up to the fact that I forgot. I don't believe that is particular expectation is too difficult, yet, it's one that I've actually lowered for certain people. There are people that I know make promises they have no intention of keeping. It disappoints me, but I've come to terms with it.
I expect people to try. Doesn't matter what, just try. Try to be polite. Try to listen to others. Try to make a difference. Just put forth some effort into SOMETHING. People who expect everything to be handed to them are in for a large karmic lesson at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, this is also an area where I've had to lower my expectations of people. There are just some people in our lives who don't even want to bother. Trying to do anything might exert too much energy.
I'm not hypocritical though. Everything that I expect from others, I expect from myself, but even more so. I try my best every day to live up to my basic expectations plus more. The expectations I have for myself are extremely high. I want to believe that I am SuperWoman, but, alas, I am not. I let myself down constantly. I'm working on getting over that. I'm working on more realistic expectations of myself, my children, and my husband. Of everyone else, I don't think I expect that much. I'm tired of lowering standards just so we aren't disappointed in an outcome. I believe the things I really expect from people are simple to achieve. Other people just need to start waking up and begin living up to their potential.