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  Realistic Expectations Promote Realistic Standards  

Matthew 22:36-40
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Jesus narrowed down the Moses list of ten commandments to just two. And he concised the entire Bible to these verses saying all the other commandments in the Bible just hang on these two commandments. In fact in many other verses in the Bible Jesus further simplifies to say Loving God is the ultimate.

If we love God we will be automatically obeying his commands. Even though God is a perfect God, His standards are realistic ones for mankind to follow. That is the very purpose of Jesus to make God's standard accessible for ordinary man.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of Law pushed the standard to unrelenting levels. So many times because of our own mindset on unrelenting standards, we get ourselves burdened with life and burden others.

Children who have had the core emotional need for realistic expectations met have healthy standards. They are able to remind themselves, "It is good to have high standards, but sometimes, good enough is good enough. I am comfortable doing my best without fear of being criticized. Hard work and efficiency are noble, but not nobler than connecting with people or caring for my health. I believe that there is a time to relax and have fun".

Due to this mind-set, they will be more likely to have good friends and grow up to have healthy families themselves. While they may not appear to have the inner drive that accompanies the unrelenting standards lifetraps, they will certainly be more at peace and will avoid the accompanying sleepless nights and stomach aches.

These children have parents who provide healthy motivation and who who help them to enjoy the process, not just the desired result. It is important to point out that children with healthy standards will enjoy winning as much as anyone else, though they will usually prioritise fairness to others over being "number one".

Today's Practical

Focus on your child efforts and not on the results or performance. Reward your child or have a party for your child just to emphasize to the child it is for putting in his or her personal best efforts.