Striving To Be The Best

By Tony Price, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: November 11, 2009

BOSTON (BASN) — Recently I was the featured speaker for a fund-raising event to help raise money for a youth center. When I accepted the invitation, I immediately began to think of what I would say to the large gathering.

The spirit led me to share two words: Exceptional and Expectations and how they can impact the next generation. When we think of things that are exceptional we tend to focus on feats that are rare, outstanding, exemplary in other words things we don’t expect to see often.

An example is watching a pitcher throw a complete game, a game in which he or she allow no hits, walks or runs, those are rarities indeed for the sport, in fact not many people go to the ball park expecting to witness this feat.

On the other hand, when it comes to our expectations we tend to be more flexible in this area often times we set the bar or standards very low. Today, we don’t place much emphasis on high expectations and having people meet them.

We allow room for negotiations or excuses.

We settle for an average attempt and then walk away feeling that as long as some progress was made then our jobs are done. Please understand that I’m not condemning anyone for taking that approach.

As someone who has spent a great deal of my life working with and on behalf of youth, I understand the importance of making progress. But I don’t believe you have to compromise high expectations in the process.

To wrap up my presentation I shared with the crowd a real life example from my own family. I told of a story of how my youngest daughter scored a 92 on a geometry test and how excited she was to share the good news with her family.

Now I was no math genius so I would have done just about anything for that kind of score. I imagine some of you feel the same. I shared how she first went to my wife.

Without missing a beat her mom did what many mothers do when their child comes home excited she made a big deal out of the moment and my daughter felt 10 feet tall.

Then she came to me and I told her that her score was nice, she did a good job (notice my words nice, good job), then I informed her that scores like that are what her mother and I expect from her, because she is brilliant, talented and has greatness within.

Unfortunately , her countenance changed it was like “Gee, Dad”, thanks for raining on my parade. Now my intentions were not to damper her spirits, nor it was to inform her that she is capable of achieving those kind of grades every time especially if she applies herself.

A few weeks went by and I picked her up from her friend’s house as we were driving home. My daughter says, “Dad did I tell you about my recent math test “, and I said no.

She turns towards me with the kind of confidence you have when you have a winning hand at cards, and says I got a 98″. Immediately I acknowledge her efforts and let her know that I could not be more proud of her than at that moment.

I then turned to her and said, “Do you remember our conversation a couple of weeks ago and what I said to you?”. She gave me a wry smile and said, “Yeah, you said that’s an expectation.”

Now what if I made a really huge deal about the 92. Do you think she would have challenged herself to reach even higher? Or is it possible she would have been content with that level of success?

L ets not forget a 92 is a good grade, but a 98 is closer to perfection.

See I believe if you raise the expectations of a person or perhaps even yourself, they will give you an exceptional effort to accomplish their dreams and goals and that’s something we all can feel good about!