High Expectations and Lowering The Bar

I am not unlike any other parent who desires the best for their children. I try to do what ever I feel necessary to help them achieve that goal. It was important to me that my children succeed in this world.

When an old friend who I hadn’t seen for some time would ask, “how are your kids doing?”,  I actually thought they really wanted to know, so I would start with the most successful or those doing the best at the time then work my way down the ladder until I could see boredom mask their face. That was my cue to  stop before getting to some of my not as successful or those having a rough patch.

My bar was high but not unreachable. I wasn’t looking for any brain surgeons, Senators, elite athletes, or Albert Einsteins. No, I believed I had my expectations at a reasonable level although any of the above would be acceptable also.

A few months after Aaron’s suicide, Rhonda and I went to the States for a long over due visit. Prior to our leaving on our trip a dear friend organized for us to stop at her place, on our return. Staying with her in a  distant city for some relaxation and catching up with old friends. During our stay she put together a dinner party for us, inviting some close friends and some of our family who were living in the area.

It was nice seeing everyone and we really felt loved and cared for. It was special and we are eternally grateful. Just what we needed at the time.

During dinner I was having a conversation with a friend sitting opposite us. I said with a grin, “you know our expectations for our kids have changed over the years. At one time we expected great things from them, our bar was pretty high, maybe too high for some so we lowered it. Having a job or career that they enjoyed and being happy was where we placed the bar. But in the last few months since losing Aaron we set the bar even lower. Staying alive was our new expectation.” Rhonda and I laughed, an inside joke. We actually believed this, life became the greatest commodity for our kids as far as we were concerned.

Now I don’t know if I was speaking loud enough for anyone else at the table to hear what I said but I felt like everyone froze in place and stared. I thought my friend who I was directing the comment at was going to need a blood transfusion as I could literally see his face changing color.

I have thought of that scene many times over the years. It never fails to put a smile on my face.

Of course our kids don’t need our high or low expectations nor do we need to lower or raise the bar for them. They will do that on their own, its their life and they will succeed or fail without our help.

But my expectations on life and its outcome  for my children remains the same to this day.

Do what I have to do to keep them alive and trust God that He will help them with the rest.


10 responses

  1. You know Sammy I always want to respect folks the best way I know how. I don’t even pretend to know how you and your family feel. So I said that to say this. I lost a precious daughter on July 30th this year to a tragic accident . The fellows face draining to me is the same look I have seen over and over. No one knows what its like to lose a child. They don’t even know what to say to Carolyn and I. They don’t realize that life has become so dear for us. We are ok with that. If not for our relationship we have with God we just would not get through in very good style. Its lonely sometimes being were we are at. Trusting in God is what we do.

    Much love Sammy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sammy, I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious daughter. I pray that you and your wife Carolyn will be comforted by the peace that passes all understanding. May God bless you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind thoughts. My name is Tom. I am sorry for any misunderstanding. We have lost or daughter recently. I was posting on Sammys blog. His family lost their son 6 years ago. He shares a very helpful story of their journey together after a loss.
        May God richly bless you.

        Much love Tom


      2. I am sorrry. It was a ‘mindslip’ about your name. I had read your comment to Sammy about the loss of your child and wanted to send my condolences. I have also checked out your inspiring blog and have started following.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No apologies needed. I thank you for taking the time to look at my blog and respond with your mind thoughts. Bless you

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Kind thoughts. I made you chuckle. Smart phones are not near as smart as they think they are.


  2. Tom, I am so sorry about your daughter. You know when I started writing my book and hence these blog posts, I do it with six years experience since my boys death. When I hear of folks like your self who only recently lost a loved one, it breaks my heart and brings me back to the grief and emotions that I experienced when Aaron died.

    But that is a good thing because it keeps me humble. You have two things going for you. You and Carolyn have each other and the Lord to lean on.

    As I’m sure you have already come to understand you and Carolyn will each grieve or pick up the pieces of your lives differently. My wife just said yesterday to one of our boys who has been having a hard time recently. “God fixes broken things, you just have to give Him all the pieces”.

    Tom you are so far ahead of me when I lost my boy, you are already communicating and encouraging others. Bless you and your wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You and Rhonda are a continual inspiration. Thank you for being a voice in the darkness.

    We always want what is best for our children. It is hard to watch them struggle in a world of mystery and hardships. God is our refuge.

    Death may break us down but the hope of resurrection makes us even stronger. My belief in a great reunion keeps me going. God bless you and your family.


  4. lensgirl (Dale?) Thank you so much for your encouragement. Its always one day at a time around here. My wife told one of our other boys the other day, “God fixes broken things, all you have to do is give Him all the pieces” I love that. All the best to you and yours. God bless


    1. Yes, my name is Dale. 🙂 I love what your wife told your son. Her wisdom is a strength.


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