Great Expectations

Originally posted in November of 2012, I find it pertinent to remind myself from time to time of why we are doing what we are doing. This post helps me remember that any expectations I have regarding our children’s education need to be founded on Christ and what He wants from our family. Anything else is simply foolishness…


I wonder how often in life I am let down because my expectations were too great. It isn’t that the event itself was poorly run (although it might have been) or that a certain person failed horribly in their attempts, but rather that I had a greater expectation of the results than I should have.

Since I was young I have always set a high standard for myself. I knew what I expected of myself and what I could produce. Knowing this, I never settled for less than my best and never let myself stop until the most could be done. While there is no problem with setting certain expectations for myself, I need to be careful that I don’t set such high standards for others, expecting them to perform at a level I would impose on myself.

Kids & I

I find this to be especially true in homeschooling. It can be a danger to expect my children to learn at a certain rate, pursue a skill with dogged mindset, or keep working until the job is “perfect”.

While my children should have goals, they need to be realistic. The aim should be to do their best, not mommy’s best nor anyone else’s. The intention of learning being that they continue to grow and achieve their best, not what someone else expects.

If I force my children to constantly live up to my own standard of performance, I run the risk of overburdening them and perhaps turning them away. The probability of them becoming frustrated and giving up is high.

I try to set an example for my children, allowing them to see for themselves what great expectations can accomplish. It isn’t by pushing, prodding, and certainly not by setting the bar too high; it is simply by living and living well.

Time to Chime In: Do you find yourself expecting too much of other people?

“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now, as always, Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” – Phil. 1:20


15 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. Yes, unfortunately I tend to expect my same standard for other people and then I get really upset when they can’t or don’t meet it which is truly unfair of me, but sometimes it is almost automatic. I’ve worked in recent years to get past that but it is still a struggle. It is something I am going to have to be aware of as I teach my little one in the coming years.

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  2. Yes, but I am trying to change that. In Al-Anon we have a saying: “Expectations are predetermined resentments.” When I find myself feeling upset or disappointed with someone or something, I have to stop and consider my expectations. Most of the time, there is no fault with the person or event, it is simply not the way I would have done it. Although, I am much better with other people now, I am still quite hard on myself, but I am working on it one day at a time. It is important to me that the girls learn as much spiritual well-being as they do other subjects during our homeschool journey.

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  3. Yes!! I always seem to expect a lot from myself. I have always had a higher standard for myself and then I end up being frustrated. I try not to do that while I am homeschooling my two but sometimes I catch myself doing it and have to back off a bit, especially when they get frustrated. I guess it is a learning process and we have to realize we are human too.

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  4. I really needed this reminder today. I’m working on following my children’s lead in education. I want to encourage my child and help. I don’t really want to be driving, pushing and pulling them through school. I rather have them develop their own internal desire to be the best they can be. It is very hard for me to let go of how, what, and when learning should happen. I have my ideas and my ways. And I have two very strong willed children who are very capable of accomplishing tasks that are set before them when they want to address them. I can provide, provoke, and highlight lessons. I can’t control my children to absorb, observe, inhale, and take heart a subject if it is not in them. Patience is a virtue and when I don’t think my children are learning, I am always proved wrong. What I do does really matter. My delivery of how I invite, initiate, and showcase their school work does make a difference in their education. I need to show up everyday willing to coach, provide, and enhance their learning in creative ways that meet their learning style. Wow home school moms, we sure do have our work cut out for us, don’t we? It is hard to let go of how we think things should go. So hard. I want them to do well in life. My fears often times cause me to over-react and control. My expectations need an adjustment almost everyday and thank you for a very thought provoking post.

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  5. Yes. I do :/ I find I have too high of expectations for others in general. I get let down and upset when others don’t handle themselves or situations as I would. For example, if someone weren’t thoughtful or considerate or even loyal. I have found that I have too high expectations from friends but it’s because I would do so much for my friends. It’s hard for me to understand that they might not think to do the same 😦 I hate to think I should lower my expectations too!

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    • I understand what you mean. It’s hard to lower an expectation for someone else which we would gladly fulfill ourselves. It’s amazing how we could be willing to walk over coals for some who wouldn’t walk across a street for us. By God’s grace, perhaps this is His work in us; refining us to be more like Him?

      However, on the flip side. What if someone had a higher expectation for me than I could achieve; wouldn’t I want their grace and mercy?

      There are some things which we ought to expect (respect, personal boundaries, and the like) and others which are personal preferences. It can be hard to find the defining line between the two, but that is where grace comes in.

      For example, is being on time too much of an expectation? (sigh) It makes one wonder…

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      • You are absolutely right….on the flip side I would want them to hopefully be understanding of why I didn’t live up to their expectations 🙂 Usually, I am quite forgiving and end up letting things go, giving the benefit of the doubt is something I do pretty well. I think I have my limits though. If I am repeatedly let down, I usually end up needing distance, depending on the type of let down. I am quite forgiving though!

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  6. For me, I tend to struggle most with giving myself the needed grace and breathing room in this area. I’ve come a long way from the perfectionism mindset that once plagued me (and consequently my interactions with my children for a short while), but I have found that it came much easier to start showing grace and easing up on those around me than it has been to do the same for myself. Especially since most of what I expect of myself I once was able to achieve with ease before my disability became so severe.

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  7. YES! And it’s so disheartening when I realize I’m doing it with my child. I love how you write the child needs to do his or her own best and not the parents. THAT is a wonderful thought to keep in mind – something I might share with my clients in the spring! (I do evaluations of other homeschoolers here in Pennsylvania)

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