Responsibility, Expectations, and The Might of a Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Life often presents us with new challenges; parenthood, car payments, or even the epic 30 man raid.  Every challenge comes with responsibilities, expectations, and quite often a self-fulfilling prophecy. All of these things are very difficult to understand, and even harder to balance.  My own experience with such subject matter has been the extreme contrast by which my two children have been raised, from birth until their first year.  

When Peighton was born, I took advice from everyone that offered it and quickly understood that this responsibility of raising children would be overwhelming, and threatening to the very existence of my social life.  I also knew in my heart that it was the most important and difficult challenge that life could offer me.  The day Peighton was born was one of the most exciting and joyous days of my life, and everyday after that has been new and exciting.  From day one, I did my best to never make a mistake with Peighton.  I followed all of the latest Doctors advice about meals, sheltered her from every danger possible, and barely took her out of the house.  I was twenty years old, working nearly full time, going to school, and parenting.  Of course there was no time to be young and enjoy life.

My expectations and sense of responsibility told me that a good parent wouldn't leave for an evening to spend time with friends, a good parent always puts the child first, a good parent , a good parent , a good parent .... blah blah blah blah.  I was using the ideals of others and forcing myself to live by them. This undoubtedly created the self fulfilling prophecy that parenting was boring, tedious, and that there was nothing in it for me.  Taking advice from others has been great for me; I have learned many valuable lessons and used many of them. But allowing the world to tell me how to live my life was a terrible mistake.  

My responsibility was very real and very important, but my expectations were not.   I learned that I needed to re-evaluate my lifestyle, parenting style, and most importantly the expectations I had of myself.  Life improved considerably and rapidly.   I was enjoying my life much more and I believe Peighton was as well. With Gunner I threw many of those Doctor's opinions out  the window and trusted my instincts from birth.  Shooting from the hip was a blast and I was rewarded with a happy baby, happy family, and a happy self.

When encountering any new situation your only duty is to meet the responsibilities that you know are right.  Your only expectation is that the expected will rarely occur, and the only self fulfilling prophecies should be the ones you day dream about, not the ones great aunt Mildred told you about.

This column is not here to preach or teach, it is simply a conversation about a feeling I have been having, and something I would like to share.  My entire point is that I feel most failures are not caused by ones in-ability to perform whatever action they are performing, but because most people are setting the bar based on someone else's measurements.  Think of a high school track star performing the high jump and deciding to set his height based on the current world champions winning jump.  Now understand that his best event is the shot put.  This is what I see many people doing in their everyday lives.

If I did have to make a recommendation it would be to play to your strengths while trying to improve on your weaknesses.  Set the bar in a way that makes sense for you! Don't take any advice that you know isn't right and trust your instincts, after all who knows you better than you!

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