Ho-hum is not a goal
Too often in life many of us choose just to get by … do a ho-hum job or put forth just enough effort to meet minimum expectations. There’s no future in that. Opting for mediocrity is a sure-fire way not to stand out, not to be singled out for a special achievement, not to exceed. This time of year your teenagers may be looking for a summer job, serving as a camp counselor, perhaps preparing for college in the fall. Emphasize to them that in pursuit of a new life challenge leading toward adulthood, if they put forth their best effort and reach beyond their grasp, they will never be considered just mediocre.
Expect it and you’ll get it
Mediocre. Ugh. Even the word sounds average, less than desirable. Have you ever watched a mediocre show, eaten a mediocre hamburger, received mediocre service? If you have, hopefully it took only one lousy experience for you to look at other options. Mediocre quality and service exist only when we expect nothing better—when we don’t demand excellence.
Dad and Mom, your expectations of your children should be reasonable but also remain high. And your children’s expectations of themselves should reflect those same high standards. If your son or daughter is approaching a milestone in his or her life—college, a new job, the start of a career, a position of leadership, a business venture, a promising new relationship—it is important to make clear that quality stands out in the choices they make, the effort they put forth and the ultimate outcome. If your teenager settles for mediocrity—just does enough to slide by—it will stick like glue.
This is difficult because mediocrity surrounds us. Too often we remain complacent or unmoved by it. The mediocre teacher or professor reads from the same yellowed notes year after year. The committee meets, hardly anyone attends and nothing ever gets done. Let’s face it. It’s quite human to shrug off mediocrity because to improve or change something is too much hassle and will create a fuss or hurt someone’s feelings. We think, nobody cares so why should I?
Kick it out of the house, under the bus
Dad, Mom, don’t accept mediocrity from yourselves or your teenagers. When we take life simply as it is dispensed to us—when we are satisfied with ho-hum people, products and service—we endorse it. Mediocrity thrives and becomes the norm. Dad, can you imagine a worse epitaph than “He lived a mediocre life”?
Expect excellence. Model it for your kids. Set high standards and take aim at them in everything you do as an individual and as a family. When you demand excellence from yourself and refuse to settle for less, your teenager will follow your example. Face it, our kids have a lot of examples out there, and they run the spectrum from good to OMG. Parents need to be the gold standard.
Reject mediocrity. Strive for excellence. Live it. Give it. Expect it from others.