Jeremiah 9:6

"'You live in the midst of deception; in thier deceit they refuse to acknowledge me', Declares the Lord."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Setting a High Standard

Combating Low Expectations
In the forward to “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, Chuck Norris says, “Today we live in a culture that promotes comfort, not challenges. Every thing is about finding ways to escape hardship, avoid pain, and dodge duty. ... Today, our culture expects very little from teens - not much more than staying in school and doing a few chores.” As a teenager, I find this statement to be true for my generation. We, as teens, tend to meet the expectations set before us, and no more. If the expectations are set high, we rise to the occasion. However, if they are set low, unfortunately, we stoop to the standard. I want to change the mindset of teens from the idea that we only need to do what is required and nothing more, into one that says that we can and should rise far above the standard. If teens got this, we would realize our God-given potential and make an impact on the world.

One example to illustrate the idea that teens will rise up to meet the expectations set before them is an experience I had in my scout troop. The meals our patrols used to plan and cook were simplistic and disgusting. We cooked things like hot dogs for every meal. However, when we instituted patrol cooking competitions, we started to cook better and better. We went from “shake-n-bake” pancakes, to chocolate-cherry cobblers and breakfast burritos. The rise in expectations forced us to improve our planning and cooking abilities; and now we actually look forward to the delicious food.

Another example of how high expectations can spur a person on to success can be seen in Charles F. Kettering. He was an American engineer who invented the electric starter. He is quoted as saying, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.” This is shown through his achievement of the inventing of the electric starter. He set a high goal, and he met it. As a result our lives are made simpler.

Some people believe conversely. They say that high expectations set a child up for failure, while low expectations foster a sense of success. They believe that experiencing failure leads to low self esteem. I found a web site that presented suggestions as to the appropriate chore levels for all ages. In the section “11 years and older”, one of the suggestions was for the kid to “clean room with direction”. This site also said, “One kid may be fully ready to handle sorting the laundry at 13 while another kid will still be putting red clothes with the whites at 16, wondering why the clothes keep coming out tinted pink.” Zach Hunter started a campaign in 7th grade to free slaves around the world. Through his “Loose Change to Loosen Chains” (LC2LC) he has raised money to end modern day slavery. Zach Hunter is just one example of what a teen is capable of and how our culture expects far to little from us teens.

The main thing I’m getting at here is that the ridiculously low expectations set for us teens need to be defeated. They must be defied. If my generation doesn’t, we will become a bunch of lazy adults who don’t do anything with excellence. The point I’m making is not that we, teens, are lazy bums; it is that if we don’t start showing the world what we are capable of, we will never get practice at doing anything great. I say that regardless of age setting low expectations sets one up for failure, because the low expectations are not a realistic example of the demands of real life.

Works Cited

Harris, Alex and Brett Harris. Do Hard Things. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books,

McNulty, Joanne. “Age Appropriate Chores for Kids.”
2007 Quotations. “Charles F. Kettering quotes”. Quotations
Online 1 Feb. 2009.


George said...

This is a paper I did for my composition class two weeks ago. Thought it would be good to post.


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