Life has thrown us for a loop these last few weeks, with roofers here at all hours, either repairing when the sun is shining, or patching when the rain pours in. With windows on four sides (including the roof) of the room I spend most of my time in, getting time to think, let alone write, has been at a bare minimum. (I escaped for a walk *by myself* yesterday, and it did wonders!)

I’ve been thinking about the psychological power of expectation.

When the roofing crew expect rain in the afternoon, they work on laying plywood and shingles, which they can’t do in the rain, and save the metal work (which they can do whenever) for when the clouds begin to dump. When Craig, our awesome roofing contractor, calls on a rainy evening, wondering if we’ve sprung a leak, I don’t expect him to come unless we’re emptying buckets, but he comes anyway, tarps and caulk in hand.

I knew that I tend to be tidy when a guest in another’s home, but I’ve only just realized that I am tidy in select environments that *I* own or rent, like hotel rooms, or our family home in the UK. I expect myself to maintain order in those environments, so I do.

I’ve always had both internal and external expectations of working hard for good grades, so I have always put in that work. I expect myself to be polite and considerate of others, so I act accordingly.

I have goals, and I have desires, but somehow trying counts when thinking about goals, and I understand that I might, even frequently, be disappointed by thwarted desires. Expectations are either met, or they aren’t.

I remember elementary school report cards, where I was always pleased to “exceed expectations.” It was a set of standards, if arbitrary and perhaps subjective ones, but a standard nonetheless. A goal or desire could be completely unreasonable, but I always trusted that the expectations my teachers had of me were ones that I could meet. Same with my parents’ expectations of me; I might not have liked them, but I knew that I *was* capable of meeting them, provided that I put in the effort. Whether I did or not is a different question…

I don’t feel the need to have the world grade me at almost forty, but I’m wondering if creating a rubric for myself, clearly expressing some expectations for myself, as well as how I’ll be able to tell if I’ve met them, might be of benefit. Not sure how often I’d use it, but knowing it was there might be enough.

I’m also wondering about how my expectations of my children influence their behaviour and attitudes. Certainly, I want my expectations of them to be realistic and appropriate. I also don’t want my expectations to be weight on my childrens’ shoulders. That said, I’ve noticed that since I have started expecting them to pour their own drinks, wash their own faces, get their own clothes, etc, they have been doing it, no questions asked. This is definitely going to bear more thought…

This entry was posted in psychology, This is my Brain on Homeschooling. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Expectation

  1. Bon Crowder says:

    My mom says, “Once they can do it for themselves, never do it for them again.”

    My neighbor says, “If you can’t do it, you can’t do it.”

    Regarding almost-40-folks (I turn 40 in July, how about you?): I love the personal rubric idea. What would you put on it? I want to do it too.

    I think a giant poster board with stars would work too. The goal that I would have listed first would be: “Closed and put away computer at 6:30am”

    I wake at 3:30 to blog – and I’m supposed to focus on the fam at 6:30. But I often don’t.

    • Siggi says:

      Wow – I am SO not a night owl. Morning IS my favourite time of day, but I frequently choose to spend it in bed, TYVM!

      I’ll be 40 next Spring. I’ve done check-in sheets with myself before, in a binder, and that worked pretty well, but I got so into creating a perfect system that I never kept using it for long, since it got cumbersome. I’m thinking of giving myself some baby steps in the rubric: jack all; bare minimum to keep life and limb togther, actual work to maintain, progress towards goals, etc, with some clearly defined target dates. Did you see my post about 40 in 400? I have my work cut out for me this year!

      I’m not movitivated by poster charts – I just feel like a schmuck when I haven’t gotten all stars, and guilt isn’t a good motivator for me. If it works for you, though, go buy yourself some fun stickers, and do it up!

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