I Know I Am Intelligent Because I Know That I Know Nothing .... Socrates

Monday, September 6, 2010

Expectations - A comment From The Soap Box

How much should we expect from our kids ?

Is it unrealistic to try and encourage and motivate your kids to put in 100% effort, 100% of the time ?

I’ve had a few “ Disagreements ” with my son of late about his focus and motivation towards what I see as golden opportunities that he has in his life and his constant “ Just Enough ” effort that he puts forward as his “ Best Effort ”.
I know that generalisation is a dangerous thing but it would appear to me that most of the “ Now Generation ” ( below 25 years ) consider that any effort is a good effort and that as a society we are pandering to a generation of delicate personalities which we are not allowed to tell that they are wrong, failed, lazy or simply that they are dragging the chain.
We now have education systems that are not allowed to mark incorrect answers with a Red Cross because it might upset the kids and damage their self-esteem. We have universities that simply mark as competent or not competent so that we don’t discriminate. But in do so we manage to the lowest common denominator and take away any motivation for our youth to strive for that 99% on the exam, to push themselves to achieve their best. Why would anyone strive to achieve 99% when the person who gets 51% is acknowledged exactly the same, with a “ Competent ” grade.

We even have unfair dismissal laws in industrial relations that require us to give big warm hugs to non performing employees, to ask if they have home issues that you can help with and then you are still required to give them 3 written warnings before you can dismiss them. Crazy, keep your home issues at home, focus on work at work and give 100% effort 100% of the time.
What ever happened to someone’s “ Best Effort ”, when did it become acceptable to acknowledge mediocrity as your Best Effort.

Good, Better, Best
Never Let It Rest
Until Your Good Is Better
And Your Betters Best.

I don’t think we as parents are doing our children any favours by allowing them to believe that average is acceptable, that as long as you cross the line that you have won.

If we don’t push ourselves and our children to reach for the stars, to dare to try and try again till you fail then how will we know just how far we could have gone and just how much we could have achieved.

We need to teach our children that failure is not loosing !

That they need to reach for the stars and not fear the fall.
Thank you for reading my blog and please leave your opinion, comment or simply a greeting.


  1. AHHHH the fine line - the tight rope. I failed to raise the bar for my first two. And have learnt that whatever you put of because it is to hard emotionally will have to be dealt with one day. Procrastination buys you some time but not heart ache.

    But I have learnt that leading by example is really the only way to totally follow through.

    If you want kind children - you have to be kind yourself.
    If you want your child to be friendly, helpful, well mannered, confident - then the flip side is that you must teach these things from example.

    As you have mentioned - society will usually teach the opposite and I have found through all the thick and thin of life that by being a constant guide and a constant source of what is right will always win out in the long run.

    Raising the bar - as I call it - is of the utmost importance. Lowering the bar so that the child can jump through hoops easily will do them no favours. On the other hand this takes a lot of constant vigilent supervising and understanding of where they are at emotionally and intellectually at any given time.

    Working out the balance may never be exact - the balance of time out and free thinking time along with down time balanced with the hard slog head down sort of attitude we want them to have.

    And that is hard work. So again your example of never giving up on them and expecting the best from them while supporting and listening and doing our utmost to understand them is of so much importance.

    All easier said than done. I admit.

    Teenagers - ahhhh - good luck.


  2. I agree with you on most and then again I don't. I have to err on Wendy's side in that I think there is a fine line. And leading by example is the only way! As the saying goes by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."

    The other thing is, that children are under so much pressure to excel, that sometimes I think we push them too hard. It's bad enough that pressure is put on them by education system, peers, etc, that as family we need to take a little bit of the pressure off. It's great to teach them about he principles of success, but they should also be able to do what kids do, and have quiet time to explore and discover who they are. It's fine to tell them it's okay to make mistakes, but how can they, when they don't even have enough time to make them and then be introspective. Personally, I don't think I excelled greatly at school. I did alot of daydreaming. I stuck at a couple of things, but it wasn't until I got out into the world that I really began the voyage of self-discovery.

    Anyway...that's my thoughts. Let them be children and give them time to enjoy it!

  3. P.S. Dylan is a wonderful young man...you and Rachael have yourselves to thank for that! He learnt how to be who he is from you! ;) If there is something you think needs improvement on his part, then as a parent, we then need to look at what we are doing...are we leading by example? You can only ask of our children what we are prepared to do ourselves.