Maybe it was a job you were in line for or someone at work not delivering the goods on an important report or a friend making a promise and not fulfilling your expectation.
No matter the location or the circumstance, people let each other down all the time.
Maybe its because we are human and all human beings have faults and imperfections.
Try explaining this to a 10 year old.
The other day, my youngest daughter walked up the steps to our house after school in tears. She was distraught and overcome with sadness.
Earlier that day, she and a friend had to perform a poem in a competition. If they performed well and the judges liked them, they could progress and wind up in a city wide competition.
They had worked on the poem together for weeks and weeks. My daughter would often ask my wife and I to help her rehearse. She knew the script so well, backwards and forwards, that she even knew her partner’s lines word for word.
The day of her performance she had butterflies…big time. She had a lot on her plate that day including another presentation for science along with a math test. All things considered, she was holding up remarkably well.
As the day progressed I thought about how she was doing and how her performance was going to go, not thinking for a moment that she would have any problems with it since she seemed so prepared and confident in her team.
Around 3:30, I heard heavy footsteps on our front porch and the sound of crying. She had her jacket half off, her knapsack dragging on the ground and her face blotchy and filled with tears.
“Dad, she screwed up the whole presentation…now we have no chance of moving forward in the competition. I am so mad at her. Why did this happen to me? I worked so hard on this and I knew the script perfectly. I kept telling her that we needed to keep practicing and she didn’t listen. Now look what happened!”
A happy camper, she was not.
We sat on the couch and I figured that it would be best to just let her cry it out for a little while, holding her in my arms and offering her tissue to wipe her snotty nose that was probably rubbed all over my t-shirt.
She’s my kid…what do I care about a little snot?
After a few minutes, I asked how she was doing. She said that she was a bit better. I told her how I couldn’t imagine how upset she must have been considering how hard she worked to prepare. I told her that I thought she was probably pretty bummed out.
At that point she said, “Dad, we were going to win the competition…now we don’t have a shot!”
She had an expectation….a big one, I might add. Nothing like shooting for the stars, I guess.
I told my little girl that having expectations can lead to big disappointments. I asked her if she knew the reason why her friend had forgotten her lines. She didn’t know. I told her that maybe her friend was overcome with fear and anxiety and that was the reason why she blew some of her lines; a bad case of stage fright.
She then said, “I don’t care. I am never going to be partners with HER again”.
I asked her if she knew for certain that if she partnered with anybody else that the same thing would happen again. She couldn’t answer.
There is nothing wrong with having an expectation. There is nothing wrong with going into something with a positive attitude and a positive outcome. However, we must all go into these kinds of situations with our eyes wide open, ready for the consequences however upsetting they might be.
Life is filled with disappointments. My daughter just had her first big one…at the age one 10.
I suggested that if you have no expectations heading into something that you can’t get disappointed. Sometimes its better to not have an expectation and to be pleasantly surprised instead of being really let down.
“Good advice, Dad…eyes wide open next time”.
Another lesson learned.