Let's talk about 'managing our expectations'.
It is an important skill.
Barton was pretty good at managing his expectations.
Me? Not always. I remember when my family went from Iowa to visit relatives in California in 1966. I was in middle-grade. I thought crossing each state line would be a big deal, and expected something dramatic to happen, like fireworks, maybe?
It didn’t happen, and I was disappointed.
What did Barton think as he traveled, by wagon, with his family from Indiana to Iowa?
What did pioneers encounter when they crossed state lines?
Videos of people visiting safari parks with tubs of food, then they scream when the animals reach in through the car window for the food. What did they expect; animals showing up with napkins tied neatly around their necks, politely waiting for morsels to be handed them, piece-by-piece?
Unrealistic expectations bring disappointments.
Disappointments are disappointing.
Disappointments happen when we expect too much from something or someone, and from even ourselves.
Sometimes a disappointment is reasonable. My family kept livestock on our acreage.
About the same time as the California trip, my dad promised to give me the calf that would be born to our milk cow.
The calf was born dead. I was very disappointed.
That disappointment was reasonable, but expecting fireworks at every state-line is not.
So, managing expectations are an important part of life.
Expectations are one type of measuring, that I spoke of in the 'Adulting' section.
People who manage their expectations, live more peaceful lives,
because one sure cause of depression, anger and violence, is a hasty response to a failed, unrealistic expectation.
How many kids are disappointed each Christmas when they don’t get their first cell phone?
Or are disappointed by others, when promises are not kept?
Weather sometimes ruins our plans, like rain during picnics or fireworks on July 4th.
Friends sometimes lie to us, or lie about us to others, or they make fun of us in front of others.
Some people just don't meet our expectations.
How do we adjust our expectations to minimize disappointments?
Managing our expectations is a personal trait that others judge us by, and brings us respect or disrespect.
First, if there is a ‘successful recipe’ for doing a certain thing, follow the recipe, and set your expectations according to the recipe..
There is a proper way to walk down a road that minimizes the chance of being hit by a car.
If we walk properly, we can expect to arrive safely. This sounds like 'Best Practices", eh?
If a pie recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, and if you substitute the sugar with 1 cup of lemon juice,
you should expect something very different from the original recipe.
This is what I mean by managing your expectations.
What if you are doing something new and don’t know what to expect? What then?
It is your Adult’s responsibility to teach you what to expect in your young life.
A plate of hot food should come with a warning. “As long as it’s steaming, it’s hot!” or something like that.
Your science teacher explains what to expect with a Soda n' Vinegar volcano.
Speed limit signs and other warning signs are are government's expectations for you.
The prices posted on the board at the local treat shop is the owner's way of setting your expectations.
See how this works?
Ask your adults what to expect, even if you think you know. You might be surprised at how helpful they can be.
A bit more… A train blowing its horn, means the engineer is declaring expectations that we stay off the railroad track.
When you feel the urge to potty or vomit or sneeze, your body expects to expel something from your body, no matter your opinion.
You might say, “But those are understandable expectations, how do we know what to expect from new people,
who can choose to be nice or mean; people who can choose to keep promises, or choose to break them?”
That is a m.m.marvelous question.
The best way , is to see how they apply the Golden Rule;
‘Treat others as you would want them to treat you.’
Someone that will lie to you once, and then lie to you again after catching them in the first lie, consider him or her a full-time liar.
If someone hits you once, apologizes when you rebuke them, but hits you again later,
consider that person an abusive bully.
Expect the bullying to continue, and plan accordingly.
If you see someone hit your mother, expect that to happen again, unless you call the police to complain.
There might be problems because you called the police, but you have the right to protect others from being abused.
Sometimes, things happen where we can’t be happy, like when a grandparent dies.
But things also come along to make us feel good, like a surprise visit to the State Fair.
So expectations are a helpful part of life, if, if, if they are accurate expectations.
We shouldn’t expect everything to go right, nor should we expect everything to go wrong.
Eric J. Rose
photo: orlando sentinal.com