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  • Katie Smith


No we are NOT expecting another baby as the subject line suggests (Even though several people have asked recently!?), but rather contemplating the idea of "expectations" all together. Most people agree that parenting revolves around managing expectations. But what about parenting expectations as a major management issue?

The tongue twister proposes that adults struggle equally as much as children in managing their own (often subconscious) "expectations"...

Forecasts, Likelihood, Predictions, Possibilities, Hopes, Assumptions, Confidence

All these similes paint a perfect picture for why our mental or emotional state revolve around what we think will happen in the future. Like weather or sports predictions, humans value those who correctly anticipate outcomes. It's not about depreciating surprises, but recognizing the appreciation of valid interpretations.

What we should wear, what we should eat, what we should bring, what we should be doing: our daily comfort feels dependent on our ability to calculate the day. When children (and adults) expect one thing to happen, but encounter another, they usually "come out swinging" in some form or fashion. Finger-pointing correlates with discomfort. Thus, parents strive to manage their kids assumptions in order to avoid a major meltdown.

Unfortunately, parents adhere to unspoken expectations all the time without ever seeing their black kettle squealing. When we think we will disappoint, be viewed poorly, anger, let down, be misunderstood, and the likes, we run the risk of living out scenarios with negative tension all in response to fabricated expectations from our adult peers.

Whether you are a parent or not, you hold expectations for others, as well as yourself, without consciously reflecting on the cause and effect of those predictions. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little" (Haggai 1:9).

When there's an understanding that every moment is ordained by God and weaved together for our good, then we are free to make choices based on prayerful, personal considerations rather than communal expectations. Then, you can resume expecting in "hopeful anticipation" instead of "assumed justifications."

Confidence comes in trusting outcomes to someone bigger than your peers. Since everyone will fall short of your expectations, including yourself, remain at peace assuming only what God himself has promised you.

Until recently, I didn't realize how often I make choices based on what I think others are expecting of me. While rules and regulations help provide necessary boundaries in our world, there are those human beings who just love to do the opposite of what is expected of them. (I have a couple of those kids myself.) I am not one of them. I don't like to disappoint.

However, I'm beginning to accept that my choices frequently disappoint people, and that's okay as long as those choices are considerable. As Martha Beck said, "If we hold too rigidly to what we think we know, we ignore or avoid evidence of anything that might change our mind" (Neuro Teach: Brain Science and the Future of Education, pg 25).

As with any cause and effect, calculating possibilities opens our eyes to truth: anything is possible-- with God. More than that, we should not hold ourselves or others to a rigidity that steals our purpose. Despite the outcome, you should expect unexpected joy in the midst of all life's troubles, especially when you know what God expects of you.

In the last month, there were moments I expected smiles, only to receive tears, and when I expected tears, I received huge happy smiles!

~Expecting carefully and carelessly

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