This parenting thing is often not what I expect it to be. Every day is a new surprise. Some days it's my children finding new ways to frustrate me. Some days it's watching my children grow in ways I never expected. Some days it's finding myself learning things I never thought I'd learn. It's not always easy, but it's always an adventure.
My children are not miniature copies of me. They both have a few of my traits, some of my personality quirks and a few of my more frustrating qualities, but they are not me. And sometimes it's hard for me to remember that. I want them to react to things like I would react. I want them to see a situation the same way I see it. I want them to be interested in the things I'm interested in. But they don't, and there are days when that frustrates me to no end.
God didn't make my kids to be carbon copies of me. He made them to be unique individuals to fulfill His purposes and plans. That means that sometimes we're going to knock heads. Sometimes we're going to be frustrated and angry with each other. Sometimes we're simply going to have to agree to disagree. And sometimes I'm simply going to have to let go of my expectations.
Holding our kids to high standards is a good thing. Holding them to lofty expectations to perform like us, be like us and love the same things as us is not.
We've all seen the parent who wants their child to succeed at the parent's favorite sport or activity so badly that the activity turns into a miserable experience for the child. That's what happens when we expect our kids to fulfill our dreams for them.
Our kids are individuals with their own talents, passions and plans. They are people who need to follow God's plans for their lives, not ours. We may be disappointed by their choices. They may not fulfill our lofty ambitions for them, but as long as they are walking the path that God has for them, they are doing the right thing.
Our job as parents is not to have expectations for our kids that they can't fulfill. Our job is to let go of our own expectations and encourage our kids to walk with God, letting Him direct their steps. We want our kids to live out the words of 1 Kings 8:58, "May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors." And we want them to do that as they follow their own passions and their own path.
Let go of your own expectations for your kids. Let them walk their own path. Be there to offer guidance and wisdom, but help your kids seek to live up to God's expectations, not yours.