Don't Underestimate the Power of High Expectations

empowering your teenager Jul 24, 2023

This past weekend my wife and I attended a conference in Orlando, Florida.  As you know, one of the big attractions to Orlando is the theme parks.  Consequently, one of the other attendees had brought along her husband and her 11 year old son.   The plan was for dad and son to enjoy some quality time together at Disney World and Universal Studios, while mom was enjoying time at the conference with the rest of us.   On the second night a group of us happened to have dinner at the same restaurant as the tag along father and son.  As they were walking out of the restaurant the two of them stopped to say hello to our group.  The eleven year old son walked right up to me, extended his hand and while giving me a firm handshake he looked me in the eye and said “my name is Owens… nice to meet you.”   This was certainly out of character for a typical eleven year old boy.   


Later, I mentioned to Owens’ mom what had happened and shared how awesome it was.   She acknowledged that they have been coaching him on how to introduce himself to others and he took a big step forward a few weeks earlier.  Here is what had happened.  Owens had introduced himself to a gentleman but this time the other gentleman took the time to acknowledge Owens’ firm hand shake.  He mentioned how he appreciated the way Owen looked him in the eyes.  In short he made a big deal about the way Owens handled the introduction.   Mom went on to say that ever since then Owens couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to introduce himself.  Apparently, I was that next opportunity.


I am sharing this story because it is a great example of how our beliefs and actions can impact a child.    First, Owens parents believed that even at eleven he was capable of introducing himself with confidence.  More importantly they shared this belief with him and empowered him to act upon it.   Never underestimate the power of seeing the greatness in your children, setting high expectations and sharing your belief in them.   


Then there was the acknowledgement by the gentleman who Owens met.   According to mom, his response to Ownes' effort was very impactful.   I will also say this to you …. Never underestimate the impact you can have with a few kind words or words of encouragement to someone else's child.     Think about this the next time you have an opportunity to acknowledge a child or teenager for an act of kindness, overcoming an obstacle or just a firm handshake. 


One of our core beliefs is that everyone deserves to be surrounded by people who lift them up and empower them to be their absolute best.  As an extension of this belief and being inspired by this story,  I have two challenges for you.


Challenge 1:


At least once over the next week look for an opportunity to raise your expectations of what your child/children are capable of.   Speak to their greatness and share your belief in them.


Challenge 2:


At least once over the next week say something kind or offer words of encouragement to someone else's child.  I promise you that your efforts will make a difference to them.


Choosing a loving perspective … changes everything.


Your Family Enrichment Coach,


Jim White





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