1. A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
2. A belief that someone will or should achieve something.
No, this will not be a review on the book, nor the movie.
Rather, it is about a nagging thought that has been at the back of my mind since the weekend.
Last Sunday, C was scheduled to perform at a concert. Prior to the performance, the teacher had arranged for a quick rehearsal on the piano in a practice room. There was another mother-daughter pair waiting for their turn when we arrived.
This post was triggered by something that I overheard when it was the daughter’s turn to play at the piano. Just before she went up, her mother said this to her: “You’d better play well, do not disappoint me and your daddy.”
My immediate response was to look at her daughter’s reaction, then at C. The little girl (I guess she should be about seven or eight years old?) froze for a moment, and the smile on her face was replaced with a look of concentration. I guess C heard it too, because she went quiet and serious. The mother’s words had the desired effect – the little girl played beautifully.
So why did this incident leave such an impact on me? Because I could easily have been the one that said it! When it was C’s turn to go up to the piano, I held my tongue, and simply gave her a smile and a little pat.
I’ll admit that I have high expectations of my children. I do not expect them to be the best, but I always expect them to give their best at whatever they do. As they grow older, my expectations increase accordingly, and sometimes I have to keep reminding myself that they are still children.
I’ve always found communication of expectations a tough area to navigate. When expectations are set too low, there is no motivation for the child to drive herself harder. When expectations are too high, I risk damaging the child’s self-confidence. If the expectations are misunderstood, it leads to frustrations from both parties.
So how do I know where to set the bar? Parenting guides advise us to set it realistically, based on how well we know our child. In theory, it sounds perfect. In reality? I’m doing it based on trial and error. Am I doing it correctly? I don’t know. I always have the fear that my expectations will be too much for my children and myself to handle.
Great expectations = successful children? What do you think?