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low expectations

Rebelling Against Low Expectations

A majority of people want to surpass the low expectations placed on them. Learn how to bust past the low standards and see what you’re truly capable of!

I remember telling my mom as a kid, “There’s got to be more to life than just working a job, making money, paying bills – repeat.” How exciting does that sound? Just living in survival mode day to day. Low expectations are killing our next generation’s potential for greatness. If we searched deep in our soul, each one of us have dreams we’d love to see fulfilled. So what’s stopping us?

I’ve been immersed in a book called “Do Hard Things,” written by two talented teen brothers Alex and Brett Harris, who remind me of exactly how I thought when I was their age. They are sick of living in a culture that sets such low expectations on their generation. This book got me fired up. Teens are told today that if they don’t have sex, do drugs, talk back and party – they’re doing awesome! Riiiiiight. Young people want to create an impact, have a purpose and see their talents being used to change lives. Today’s culture is completely squelching their chances, which is why we must live counter-culturally in order to experience what living to the fullest encompasses. So, what can we do as parents to help them achieve this? How do we help our kids develop their talents at a young age so that they can make their greatest contribution to mankind?

Our media today anticipates our teens failing way more often than succeeding and a majority of their programming proves this. Several years ago I was interviewed on Alan Colmes National Fox Radio show. National news broke that I set too high of standards for teens to live by at one of the high school assembly events. I called the man who contacted the press complaining about my seminar, and found out that he gave his 7th grade son condoms to use for his sexual encounters. He was upset I talked about the possible choice to not engage in sex. I want young people to think about the possible dangerous consequences that could arise when having sex outside of marriage. The son went home and informed his dad about this “new” concept and his dad contacted the media. Before long, I received a call from Mr. Alan Colmes in NYC.

While on the radio program, Alan Colmes and I duked it out for almost an hour. At one point he told me I’m living in La La Land if I think kids will choose to not engage in sex or do drugs, because all teens are going to have sex anyway – they’re like animals. Seriously?! I let him know that it was because of these low standards set by our generation that were causing so much guilt, pain and confusion for our young people. Countless teens have told me they want adults to set high standards for them and believe they can make wise decisions. There’s a lack of positive role models in the media and sadly, in homes as well. Our young people want and need guidance.

So what can we do to help our kids and our neighborhood kids, not just survive but thrive even in the midst of our culture’s low standards? Here are some great tips we can apply today and see results tomorrow.

  1. If you have toddlers, instead of having your kids watch cartoons, try the show called How It’s Made on the Science Channel. The cartoons on TV set such low expectations and is mindless garbage. How It’s Made captures the attention of my young kids who are now explaining to me about how to build a heater, make jelly beans and construct air bags.
  2. Find out what interests your kids have and sign them up for dance, football, photography, piano, archery, whatever they seem to enjoy. If they start a new endeavor and don’t like it, I would suggest having them finish out that term so they learn how to complete something they start (unless it’s a continuous activity).
  3. low expectationsIt’s easy to see kids as getting in the way while you’re trying to do something. I had a problem with this not too long ago and still sometimes struggle, because I just wanted to cruise through the tasks on my list as quickly as possible. Now I’m learning how to include them in the cooking/baking, yard work, planting, etc. just so they can learn how to be productive and the importance of doing a job well. Yes, it might take longer (sometimes a heck of a lot longer), but at least they are having fun learning in the process. You’ll be surprised at how much your six year old will absorb and apply.
  4. Have your neighborhood kids over and talk, teach and guide them into how to make wise decisions. Whether it be something as simple as changing the oil to talking about life choices, as in where to attend college or answering relationship questions. Many kids come from a broken or dysfunctional home and your involvement in their lives could change their life course drastically.
  5. If you see or hear any kid being harassed or teased about something they are doing, encourage this kid by emphasizing their strengths. You may be the only positive influence in this kid’s life. I can remember things my grade school teachers told me that encouraged me to do great things, and that was over 30 years ago.

Bottom line – our kids are being attacked from every angle and if we apply these tips we can help them thrive instead of just survive in the world today. The kids that have been challenged to go beyond the status quo are the ones we constantly read about in the history books and the ones we will read about in the next decade.

Question: What other tips would help our kids thrive in today’s world? Share your answer by clicking here.


  • Linda Knutson
    Posted at 22:25h, 17 May Reply

    Explain to your kid if the wrong things in life are what make you “cool” then you might just have to choose to be “uncool” & fine with it b/c you know your following Christ by doing it! This is what I’ve just told my 12 year old Middle school daughter:)

    • Tina
      Posted at 07:30h, 21 May Reply

      That’s so cool 🙂 The crazy thing is that several years from now her classmates will tell her that they wish they would have not done the things they’ve done. The things that are unpopular or “uncool” aren’t promoted in the media as a good choice. You’re so right. The media has such a powerful grasp on our kids. Keep fighting the good fight! Great input above!

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  • Brent
    Posted at 20:18h, 07 June Reply

    Hi Tina,

    To answer your question… “What other tips would help our kids thrive in today’s world? “, I would say it relates to your second tip and that is when your kids find something they genuinely like, give them the time to pursue it. In today’s world (specifically the business and artistic worlds), the most valuable contributors aren’t the most well-rounded. They are arguably the least well-rounded. They are exceptional at one thing (e.g. writing, speaking, singing, programming, horse riding) and they complement that passion with supporting skills – or in today’s day and age, they simply outsource the supporting work. That’s when people thrive.

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