Monday, July 18, 2011

Expectations


When I was teaching junior high (back in 1998), I was encouraged to have specific "expectations of my students" so that they had clarity on how to behave in the classroom.  I was not very good at this skill...And was confused about how to do this.  Even since that, I have thought about what that meant exactly...

Expecting more of a child so that they know that you believe in them.  Believing in them...in their virtue and ability..

I think about that idea when I tell my children what I "expect of them" so that they are clear on how to behave and how to treat others, etc.  I still vary in my ability to do this...and I feel a little bit of bitterness towards that year of teaching junior high, as a fledgling teacher...and the failure also of the administration in really helping and encouraging me as a teacher and how ultimately they made me feel like I had failed.  (they also did not make their expectations very clear of what they wanted from me either..)  Nor, did they give me credit for my own ability to learn and grow as a teacher..  I'd be a very different teacher now..as I have learned and matured and developed in my ability to "manage children"

I was a timid...progressively minded fledgling teacher in a conservative back country school..  teaching 7th and 8th grade in a district where there wasn't very much parental support..and many children with high needs..  and not enough text books to go around, etc.  I'd assign homework and I'd say I'd get 20 percent who would return it and I was told to not even bother assigning homework, because of that.

Anyway, I digress...I hadn't mean to tangent on that experience..It hits a nerve as I reflect upon it...some wounds not quite healed, I guess..

Expectations...I had meant to write about another aspect of that word.

The part of expectations that is like poison..

Expectations of what we think others "owe" us.

Poisionous expectations..  I have wasted so much time, wishing so and so were different..and more like someone else..  or wishing I had more support from family, etc..

It is what it is.

Family is what it is in this time period in our history..  Where divorce is rampant.  And families are torn apart and money doesn't quite buy what it even did ten years ago...  Grandparents' lives are not as "together" as I perceived them to be when I was growing up.  And they can't always provide what I'd hope for.  They don't always put you or their grandchildren first on their priority table.

Who am I to judge that?

I am practicing the skill of letting go of my own expectations and letting things be as they are..what they are and being grateful for what flows our way and not dwelling on what does not flow our way.

Because I think expectations can be like poison to relationships when you think you are "entitled" to something..because of who you are in the relationship.  And giving people the benefit of the doubt that they are doing what they can..and being what they can..  100 percent looks different when you don't see the whole picture.  Most days, I really try to give my 100 percent..but it does not always show.  It is not always obvious at all..And I have to assume it is the same with other people whose shoes I do not walk.

Hoping for and expecting does not help anything at all.  or at least not dwelling on those expectations and being unforgiving..or holding a grudge..or judging.

I am working on being more "Zen" and letting it go..and loving people for where they are at and assuming that they are giving their 100 percent.

(that 100 percent idea) comes from the Fly Lady...something I just read from her book about doing chores around the home and not taking a martyr attitude.  A partnership is not 50-50...It is 100-100.  It will never seem equal..Yet, each person should give their 100 percent..  And even if it doesn't feel like the 'other one" is giving their "fair share"..to not take the martyr attitude.  Don't stop giving your 100 percent..because you think the other person isn't doing their "half"..Don't think in halves..   Each person should give "their 100 percent"...  but that 100 percent may not "look like" what you "expect it to look like"..

I am badly paraphrasing and inserting my own thoughts into the above...

Another difficult part of expectation is my own perception of what others expect of me...  Supermom-ism..  To be the nurturer, the everything to everyone, the supporter, and somehow get everything done around the house, the net-worker and support the husband's job and family and friends, and make sure my children are properly groomed, educated, behaved, etc..   This is another poisonous type of expectation too...

Ideally, the only standard I should try to live up to, is the standard that should be liberating to me..  and free me from the expectations of others..The standard of my perception of what God or higher power, or higher nature, or (my own higher self) thinks I should be...I know when I give 100 percent. No one else can "measure that" or really know it..except myself..  And even outward criticism, or passive aggressive criticism (or imagined criticism) should not sway me..or "touch me"..if I furrow my own row..and know I am doing the best I can.

Judge not.  others.  and let others judgments (and my imagined judgments) bounce off me..

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