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Discipline

The Tyranny of Low Expectations

When I shared everything my son had to do to pass his rite of passage, he seemed intimidated. That’s because it’s designed to be hard. Not impossible, but hard. He didn’t want to do any of it.

But then I showed him we’ve already been working toward some of these things for years. In some cases, he was already 70% of the way there. He could do all of it, and I would be there alongside him every step of the way.

He still wasn’t excited.

But something had changed. At dinner that night, he spoke of about everything he needed to do to “be a man.” He sat closer to me that night while we read, and the next day, he had a better attitude about his schoolwork.

I hadn’t done anything but set certain expectations for him. But high expectations.

High expectations = high trust. That trust you instill in them gives them weight and helps steady their steps.

Children can sense when you have low expectations for them, and they will respond accordingly. Low expectations = low trust. If you don’t believe and expect that your children can achieve something, why should they believe and expect it?

Low expectations cut your children off at the knees before they even try to jump. The problem is that low expectations are so easy. It is so easy to expect their room to stay messy, or expect them to forget their chores, or to expect them to play video games all day.

It requires no effort on your part.

Maintaining high standards and expectations is a necessary part of discipline. There must be standard, clearly communicated, in order to fairly administer discipline.

Low expectations mean you never have a reason to discipline.

And if you never discipline your son, it means you hate your son. And that is a monstrous tyranny.

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