Expectations and accountability are key words floating around the business world and in self-improvement. Defining clear expectations for a job or role and then being held accountable for the results to meet those expectations. In a job, you accept these expectations with compensation. You know what you’re getting into before you sign-up to be involved with a company. In life, you don’t always have that choice and as a dad, you may not always provide a choice.
The expectations in my household were that I would get a good education, graduate from college, get married and produce some grandkids. Not that all of these were “spoken” expectations, but they were implied. There was no real wiggle room in this path. It was the path that would lead me to be a productive member of society and a good person. It was the path I followed and I have no regrets. I’m very happy and consider myself to be a good person and productive member in my community.
My path isn’t what others chose. I’m sure many had similar expectations placed on them growing up. Instead of taking the conventional route, they may have taken a different path. In the end, we all likely ended up in the same place.
I see or hear it all of the time with people I interact with. They may have rebelled and struggled with their parents. Taken steps to do their own thing, made some mistakes, had some regrets, but ended up in the same place I am today. You could say that I took the easy route, where another person may have take the bumpier route.
My parents paved the way and helped me with the expectations they set for me. Had I not accepted those expectations, it would have made our relationship pretty difficult. That’s where I want to be carfeul in the expectations created for my kids. I want to keep an open mind to what they want and not place my expectations on them.
The old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” You can expect your kids to meet certain standards based on athletics, academics, etc, but if they’re not interested, then they will only be moderatley successful. Instead of placing your expectations on them, find out their interests and let them create expectations for themselves. Once you understand what they expect and their interests, then you can pave the way for your child to be successful. You can help to develop a plan to help them achieve all they want in life.
When you begin to understand their interests and expectations for themselves, it can be exciting for both of you. Not only are they feeling heard and appreciated, but you’ve now got a new hobby you can learn. A new venture to pursue in joint with your kids. It will create an everlasting bond between you and your child and be passed on to many others in the future.
Summed up, support their dreams, don’t expect them to live out yours.
I am a father of two and have been married to my wife since 2000. We married following college, and had our first child a few years later. While I was always providing financially for my family, I was lacking in other areas. I didn’t have a full understanding of what it takes to be a dedicated father and husband. My journey now is to be the best dad I can be and to help other dads fulfill their unique role as father and husband.