Thursday, September 25, 2014

Great Expectations

I was driving my son to his guitar lesson the other day when I casually asked if he practiced much in the past week.  I knew the answer – it was a rhetorical question.  I knew the guitar had sat in the exact same spot he left it after his last lesson.  I’m not sure what I was expecting to hear.

You see he saved up his money and bought the guitar himself.  I told him if he wanted to play guitar he could pay for the guitar, and I would pay for lessons.  I thought this would be a good compromise and would encourage him to work at it.  I figured by doing this, he would appreciate the value of the instrument and not want to waste his money.  I expected him to want to learn how to the play the guitar whole heartedly.  But he is 11.  And he loves life, sports, being outside on his bike, playing with his friends.  Not sitting inside playing his guitar.

So it lasted 3 weeks.  We are now into week 7.  The guitar is left alone, more than it is played - I understand that it is a busy time of year for an eleven-year-old, but is it not always.

I got a little upset about his lack of practicing.  And then I asked myself, what was I expecting?  Had I voiced my concerns to him?  Had we talked the whole thing through?  We started guitar lessons in the middle of summer!!!  What was I thinking?!?

Expectations are a funny thing aren’t they?   It is no different from making “assumptions” (remember; when you assume, you make and Ass out of U and Me).   An expression my grade 8 teacher reminded the class of repeatedly!  I looked up the word ‘expectation’ in the dictionary it means: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.  A belief that someone will or should achieve something.

And then I read something pretty profound:

When we let expectations rule our lives, we set ourselves up for disappointment.  And then we judge ourselves for it!

After thinking about this for a while, I couldn’t help but remember a funny story my parents had shared with me.  After their wedding and on their way to the honeymoon destination my father realized there was only one suitcase.  Surprised that all of their things could fit into one case he casually mentioned it to my Mom.  He had fully expected she was going to pack his things for their week away.  Funny how expectations can lead to disappointment….It must have been a great way to start their honeymoon!

It wasn’t too long ago, when I would often think people around me had their own expectations of what they wanted me to do and I didn’t want to disappoint them or myself.  So I stayed the course and didn’t do anything that would create too much unwanted attention.  However, I found myself struggling internally and constantly judging and feeling disappointed.   You see, at the time I thought it would be best if I were a wallflower type.  I always worried about how I would be judged if I broke the mold that people had set out for me.

In the last few years, I decided to chart my own course.  Break free from the chains of what people expected me to do, and jump in feet first.  I have learned (as corny as this sounds) the path of life is similar to that of a river; a constant stream that keeps moving.  Sometimes the current is strong and things move fast, other times, it is slow and steady.  And then there are times where you just need a break and you lay on the bank for a bit.  Dry out and get ready to jump back in.

I have learned that doing something like this requires trust.  Trusting that you can do it.  Trusting that letting go of the expectations and going with the flow just might bring things to the table you may have never have thought of or even imagined before.  Or ever had the guts to do!

We are at the 7 week mark of the guitar lessons, I have to remind myself that I cannot set expectations on a kid who has no idea what I am expecting of him.  So last night we sat and chatted about how we were going to move forward and how we can do this so he is prepared and I don’t feel like I am wasting money so he can re-learn the same chords over and over again!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What is unique about you?

Each of us is unique in our own way.  Some of us like to show off our uniqueness and others like to keep it to themselves.  I asked some people at work what makes them ‘unique’.  Most people thought it was the hardest question they have been asked in a while.   While other’s smiled and had an answer straight away.  Here are some of the responses I received today:

“No matter where I go, I love to find a connection to someone I know already, you really get to know someone and then you have something to talk about!”

“I love to do woodworking in my spare time”

“I am probably the biggest neat freak you will ever meet and I married someone who is exactly the same way!”

“My laugh”

“My ability to help people through tough situations”

“I love to wear funky socks – the less they match my outfit, the better!”

Sometimes we forget that these unique abilities are what make us special.

What I was reminded of today was that we have a great team here at IPB - People who shine in their own special way.   What is our own unique ability? 

Don’t forget to embrace it, love it and share it!