Preparing a child for adulthood is pretty serious business for parents. After all, the adult world is a competitive place, and we want our kids to be ready for it, don’t we?
That’s why we expect our children to do well in school and in their extracurricular activities. We even want them to behave with their siblings and the neighborhood kids. We parents understand how important it is for them to make good decisions in life.
We already know that their geometry test and their attitude on the basketball team are about a lot more than a good math grade and a sports trophy. Those activities also teach them the skills they’ll need to score well in job interviews and to have a good attitude with their wives, children, and co-workers.
It’s why we want them to do well and pursue excellence.
But we can justify a lot under that positive banner. Sometimes maybe too much. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger goal and to drift from the pursuit of excellence to an expectation of perfection.
When we cross that line, we can bury our children under some pretty harsh standards. At report card time, we may question why our nearly straight-A student didn’t get that one grade just a little higher. Or maybe we snap at our teenager if he or she shows the slightest sign of irresponsibility.
Our child’s ability to do well in almost any area of life will get worse, not better, if our expectations for them are too high. Impossible standards lead to discouragement, not excellence.
So how do you raise your children to strive for their best while loving them for who and where they are right now?
That’s a question we’ll be answering thoroughly over our next three radio programs. We’ll be having a conversation with Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch. Jill is an author, speaker, and CEO of Hearts at Home. Dr. Koch is also an author and the president of Celebrate Kids.
We’re diving head first into why our standards can only be one side of the parenting coin. On the other should be an abundance of encouragement, patience, and loving guidance. Excellence is attainable, perfection is not. That means we have to give our children plenty of room to make mistakes along the way.