I have been a volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for 18 years. If you don’t know that organization, they take kids of single parent homes and match them with an adult, who will hopefully connect with them, show them other aspects of life, and have fun.
My first match began in 1997 with a 7 year old girl and we were matched until we graduated from the program because she graduated from high school. So almost 11 years. (And I am still in contact with her. I get to go to her daughter’s 5th birthday party!) I was matched again in 2010 with a 9 year old, so we have a few years left before she graduates, BUT JUST A FEW WHEN DID SHE GET TO BE A HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN?
When you are a volunteer for BB/BS, annual reviews, where they bring you and your little in to fill out forms and chat, are required. I’ve done these a million times, I know them by heart. They are not my favorite thing to do, but I go.
This time one question made my brain explode slightly. “What are your expectations for your Little for the coming year?”
Ummm… wait. I know I have probably heard this question before, but that day, a part of me froze in shock.
I don’t have expectations for her, or anyone. We all should have our own. I wish for her to make decisions in her life as to what will make her happy. I can’t know what these choices are. I am not her. All I can do is expect certain things of myself, then do my best. Through this I can show her a way to live, but she must be in charge of her destiny.
Except, people do have expectations of others. It happens all the time. Mostly I see it in parents. And I get it. Our kids are awesome and we want them to show the world all their super powers.
When we have expectations for others and they choose something else…what happens to us? Sad? Disappointed? Because they made their own choice? Dude. That’s reason to celebrate.
What about the person with those expectations weighing on their shoulders? Expectations that in no way match what they desire.
Kinda like that.
So the only expectations I have are for me. Just like my first Little, I will watch my new Little as she figures out what she wants and who she wants to be. I will always be here to give support. I will always be here to lend an ear. I will always be here if she needs help. But I will never tell her what to do. Her choices must be her own. Her expectations must be ones she sets. The same goes for my kids. And hubs. And sisters. And nieces. And everyone.
Go! Be you! Make your own choices. Have your own expectations. And be brilliant. I know you will.