Expectations

Everyone has expectations.  Expectations are woven into the design of every human relationship.

At Veritas Academy, we have expectations of students, employees and parents. They in turn have expectations of us.  Expectations are necessary.  What would a school be without them?

A few years ago one mother, who had grown dissatisfied with our school, came to me with this confession:  “I confess that I have erroneously expected a Christian school to be full of perfect teachers and administrators who make perfect decisions.”   Because of her predetermined expectations, she was often not happy with us. She expected the school administrators to be strong but not demanding, honest but not offensive, full of wisdom yet humble, and get everything done with excellence and still have time for people. She expected the teachers to be brilliant yet approachable, compassionate yet firm, balanced in lifestyle yet available at all times of the day and night.  She assumed we should perfectly meet the needs of her family.

One thing I have learned about Christian schools is that they are full of imperfect people pretending to be perfect, expecting others to be perfect.  Many parents send their kids to school with a deep seated fear that their children will make mistakes and not be perceived as perfect.  Others expect teachers to treat their children perfectly, according to their expectaions, at all times.  Educators expect parents to perfectly support them,  no matter what they do. Why is it that we can grow to resent the expectations placed on us while steadfastly imposing our own expectations on others?  We all can be so patient and understanding with ourselves and our own weaknesses, yet unyieldingly harsh with others who fall short of what we anticipate from them.  We know our own intentions and can be too quick to judge the intentions of others.

Perhaps we have the wrong set of expectations that we hold too high.

We need to steadfastly hold academic standards high.  In addition we need to raise character standards even higher.  The expectations I am talking about are those that we have come to expect from others that are related to our own personal needs for nurturing, affirmation and contentment.  We need to quit expecting others to fit into an image of what we believe we need and what they can provide for us. It’s easy to put any relationship on a pedestal by expecting more that it can deliver.  This is true of marriage, as well as with a pastor and even with a friend, a school administrator or your child’s teacher.

Why do we do this?  Perhaps we assume our own happiness and security is dependent upon others.  Perhaps we are too focused on meeting the expectations of others and in return expecting them to meet ours, and we grow discouraged when this does not occur. Setting realistic expectations of each other starts with recognizing we are all less than perfect.  We will all mess up at times.  We would benefit from doing less finger pointing and instead taking responsibility for our own lives.

How do we help kids have healthy, strong expectations for themselves, who are not dependent upon others for their contentment and affirmation, and who lead their peers with compassion?  It starts with what we model for them in our adult relationships.

The only perfection we should seek is what is found in the love of Christ:  Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:12-14

I’m excited to announce that Family Wings, LLC now offers a variety of services for families and parents including in-home parent consulting and educational consulting.

Check out our services page or call us at (512)262-6026 for more information.

5 Comments

  1. This is so good and sooo convicting. How easy it is to judge others harshly by their actions and be merciful on ourselves because we know our intentions.

    Reply
  2. It’s a good reminder to view Christians as people just as needy for grace as anyone. After all, isn’t that what Christianity is about? What Jesus has done to bring us forgiveness? Christians are whole bunch of people who have received forgiveness…and need it every day!

    Reply
  3. “One thing I have learned about Christian schools is that they are full of imperfect people pretending to be perfect, expecting others to be perfect.”

    Church life can often be like this! I lead people in church, and it takes a lot to get over my pride and insecurity. People expect more of me than ought to be expected, and I often make the mistake of trying to live up to the expectations.

    Yet, most often the best thing I can do is to fail to meet the expectations, thus showing how I need Jesus too 🙂

    Reply
  4. If any of us were indeed perfect, then we wouldn’t need a Savior in Jesus Christ, would we? I am glad we need Him and that we have Him!!

    I heartily relate to us as parents desiring our kids to appear smart, popular, or be seen as “a leader”, among other things in a school like Veritas. It is so difficult for me to allow my child to “fail” based on his own choices, without rescuing him, in part, because of what teachers will think or what his friends will think. Or what will Ellen think? Oh my! This is a form of pride in me, and I pray for God to humble me, so that I might allow my child to be his own person….a child of God and a child who needs a Savior.
    Thanks for reminding us that inappropriate expectations can set us up for disappointment, while acceptance and understanding can set us up for healthy relationships and good communication.

    Reply
  5. “Love… the bond of perfection”. I love this sobering message.

    Parenting requires self-sacrifice but not at the expense of our focus on God. We’re commanded to love God and to love others. THANK the Lord we are not commanded to achieve perfection but encouraged to seek it in the love of Christ.

    I recently heard 3 simple suggestions as it concerns how we relate to others:
    1. Do the right thing (regardless of what someone has done or is doing)
    2. Be kind (even when it’s serious)
    3. Have low expectations (meaning – focus on a few non-negotiables. Examples: in marriage these might be fidelity and values in raising your family. At a Christ-centered school these might be teaching a biblical worldview, high academic standards, parental mentoring.)

    My character will exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit when I simply do the right thing, especially by being kind and letting go of what’s really not important in the grand scheme of things.

    I’ve found I can only do this by surrendering to the Lord and trusting Him with my expectations. If I move within the bookends of the Fruit of the Spirit ~ love and self-control ~ I can better discern distractions from the greater purpose, which for me, is to model for my children a loving relationship with my God and with others. Striving for my definition of perfection seems to only make me more religious, which is the last thing I want to be or to impart.

    Now, if I could only be perfect…! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Ellen!

    Reply

Leave a Reply