Let me tell you about a simple story that has caught my attention the past few days:
Last weekend, our kids spent the night in our room, and while we were about to sleep, my eldest asked if he could have an extra pillow to hug. I got back up and went to the other room to get him extra pillows, and after I gave it to him, I said with a resounding voice “Your wish is yours to keep…” feeling and impersonating a genie that we once watched in one of their cartoon shows. My second child, my daughter, quickly picked up on to what I was acting out, and told me “Daddy, do I get a wish as well?…”. So I told her yes, all three of them could have one wish tonight. My daughter then said, “Daddy, I wish for an eye patch”. I complied with her demand and as with the first, I completed with the phrase “Your wish is yours to keep…” still trying to do a convincing genie voice. Now my youngest son, Zack, has had time to think about his wish while I was tending to his sister. He then told me “ Daddy, my wish is to have $10 “. My wife and I were a bit surprised and were laughing at how ingenious this little boy has used his wish. However, as it was already late in the night, I told him that I would give him his wish but also asked if he could wait until tomorrow, as I had no change for $10 at that time. He happily agreed, and they all went to sleep smiling.
The next day, I have been quite pre-occupied as my wife and I had a lot of chores to do, and activities planned for the whole weekend. To cut the story short, I forgot to give my son his $10 from the evening before, which I promised. On Sunday night, my wife told me that she saw something in my youngest son’s coin bank. It was a small piece of cut-out rectangular paper, colored with orange crayons and designed with a mark saying “10 Dollers”. It didn’t immediately sink with me but when my wife asked him about it, he said that it was the money that Daddy has promised to give him. I suddenly felt guilty and moved at the same time.
Here is my son, who has not bothered me, not even once, the whole weekend about his money, whilst actually expecting me to keep my promise. When I forgot about his “10 Dollers”, he made sure on his own way that I’d still keep my promise to him. That night before they went to bed, I made sure to sneak and switch his paper $10 with a real one. I then told him to check his coin bank before he went to bed, and he was very surprised and happy. I tucked him to bed and whispered to him “Your wish is yours to keep…”, he smiled then went to sleep.
It is common, perhaps natural, for us parents to have “expectations” of our children. We aspire that our kids should grow up to be good, honest, loyal, compassionate, and brave, among many others things. Some people may have high expectations, while some, not so much, but this is all OK. It only shows that we want our young ones to gain the qualities to be happy and successful for their life in the future.
However, we may sometimes neglect to think that although we have “expectations” of our kids, they too, have the same “expectations” on us. They look up to us to be good examples, role models, and to basically just to be there to depend upon. In our busy days today, it is easy to forget to keep our promises, forget to be nice to other people, and forget to be good role models. Nevertheless, as parents, it should always be our responsibility to do our best and live up to our children’s expectations. We are after all, their own heroes that they see everyday.