Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Expect More of Yourself

People tell me all the time that I'm too hard on Aiden, that I expect too much of him, and that I push him too far sometimes.

I think differently.

People say this because when they come to my house, they see that Aiden's toys are neatly placed in the correct bin, that his shoes and clothes are neat and in their rightful place, and that his bed is neat. They also see that Aiden is the one who is expected to keep those things neat, in order, and in their rightful place.

People say this because, whenever Aiden and I are getting off the bus at our bus stop, Aiden is expected to say to the bus driver, "Have a good day." If he doesn't, I give him a gentle reminder.

People say this because, whenever we enter or leave our apartment building, Aiden is expected to greet our doorman, and greet the neighbors getting on and off the elevator. If he doesn't, I give him the look. (Y'all know what look I'm talking about.)

But, most of all, people say this because, whenever Aiden is working on something that's not particularly easy for him, I expect him to keep going and keep trying and keep pushing... until he succeeds.

I expect him to give his best effort. I let him know that it is not acceptable for him to not try. That's not an option. So he tries and he struggles and he stumbles and he fails (sometimes). And he has to get back up again and try again. Something new, something different. I help him realize (or sometimes he comes to the realization all by his lonesome) that what he did before didn't work so he has to try something different.

He learns from his failures and uses it to help him succeed.

And, in the process, he learns the beauty of perseverance and grit. He builds character and he begins to see why it's important to expect more of himself. 

Of course, I model these things for him by doing them myself. I expect a lot from myself. All. The. Time. I always try to give more today than I gave yesterday. If I gave a 7 yesterday, then today I give an 8. So that tomorrow I can give a 9. Because the ultimate goal is a 10.

I fail at some things, of course. I'm only human. But the expectation remains high.


We have to always expect more of ourselves. We have to always keep trying and pushing and trying something else if we stumble.

That's the only way we're going to go beyond where we think we can go.

That's the only way we can be great in whatsoever we choose to do. 


  1. I did the same with my son and got a similar response. Today he is a well mannered and well rounded young man. You are doing an excellent job with your little man, stay the course. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Makes sense to me! My son is 2 and I focus on teaching him to be mannerable, to try hard, to not say "can't", to ask for help when needed, to shake hands, etc.

    There is nothing wrong with expecting excellence, which is different from perfection. I think part of the problem is that too many people think they are synonomous.

    Next time "they" have something to say, politely (because that's what we teach the chil'ren LOL) ask them to have several seats.

  3. Our worst- or best?- rival is ourselves. Yes. we should always try to outdo ourselves each and every time. That will help us realize our full potential. That of course is a great lesson to teach our kids.

  4. you had me at the title...i can definitely do better and demand more of myself!!

  5. I do the same with my children and I see how it positively affects them. Children need structure and they need someone to expect more from them. My parents did. Even when I said I "couldn't" do something, my mother ALWAYS said in the most gentle and sure voice that I've ever heard, "Yes you can." As cliche as it sounds, whenever I feel like this sometimes, those words still echo.

    Sometimes it rattles me when people tell me I'm too strict or too hard on my children by saying, "Oh, he/she's just (insert age)."

  6. Nothing's wrong with expecting even our children to be the best they can be at ANY age/stage. It starts early and it will continue to greatness in the future

  7. Makes total sense to me. I need to do better on getting my son to be neater. That part is definitely a work in progress. As for me, it's a amazing how much I expect of myself. My mom thinks I'm not happy unless I have a lot going on. The truth is, I know that there is a lot in me to offer the world and I'm not happy with myself if I'm not trying to get it all out. Guess what? I expect the same of my babies!

  8. I get this all the time, he's still a baby, don't be so hard on him but if he learns now it will be second nature to TRY. Chunks is not allowed to say he can't do something, he can say he doesn't know how but can't? NO and he gets no help unless he tries. Don't lose it, you're doing an awesome job, now I have to get Chunks to put his shoes and toys away EVERYDAY lol


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