News certainly travels fast, especially when there is happy baby news! I was an executive assistant to a vice president of a large department that was mostly made up of women. Oh, the joy and excitement of a soon coming baby! I was at the ripe young age of 21, and had a lot of admirable women to give me advice, but the best advice I received was from the person I least expected.
My boss, whom I will call, Dexter, was an aloof man. He wasn’t especially personable and always very business-like. I don’t know if that is what made me think so highly of him or not. He was the first bona-fide executive that I had ever worked for and his stand-offish personality created a mystery about him that intrigued me all the more. Maybe that sounds silly, but as a young impressionable girl in her first professional role, that was what I thought. I often felt out of my league compared to all the other professionals that I worked with – all those accounting types. It was very intimidating to say the least.
One morning in the middle of the two hours that Dexter typically used for his quiet planning time, he suddenly opened his door and summoned me into his office. Now, I was awake!
I went in fully prepared to take notes about whatever important assignment he was about to delegate so that I would be able to properly execute it. Some considered Dexter hard to work for, but I highly respected him.
I was quite surprised to learn that what Dexter really wanted to talk about was parenting. This was so uncharacteristic of him, but here he was telling me the one thing he believed I must do as a parent – set high expectations. I’ll never forget his words, which were, “Set high expectations for your children because they will try to live up to them.”
That was it. I agreed to adopt his advice, he wished me well on becoming a new parent, and out of his office I went with my high expectations challenge. Wow! I felt honored that he took the time to coach me on parenting. He was the father of three daughters, so I felt like he was imparting some well-tried and true advice.
That was about 25 years ago, and I have to say that I have always remembered Dexter’s advice and have consistently tried to establish high expectations for my two daughter’s conduct, education and relationship choices.
Meanwhile, back at home…
Despite all the uproar at work, I was not sure that I was really ready to become a mom yet. I had really wanted to wait another year or two, but my husband was in a hurry to have a baby. After a lot of personal agonizing of whether or not to wait, I decided that a baby just might help our sad little marriage.
We had only been married a little over a year, but there was already trouble in paradise. We were not properly suited for one another and I am not sure why that did not come to light while we were dating. We seemed to be on the same page and in love, but it was like we met at the altar one pretty spring day in May and then left it headed for separate horizons.
Just a few months earlier, I had packed up my stuff, loaded it into my car, got in, and sat there; I just couldn’t find one good, biblical reason to back out of our driveway and head back to my parent’s home. So after a few minutes in my car, trying to line up my activity with what God’s Word says about marriage, I quietly took all my things back inside and prepared to do my best as a wife.
This may seem odd, and even silly to some, but as a woman of faith it made perfect sense to me. God has high expectations for marriages, and I did not feel that just because my marriage was difficult, I was excused from my commitment.
I wish I could say that after two children and ten years plus one day of marriage that everything turned out well, but I’m sure as no surprise to you, it did not. But what I can say is that God used that trying time to purify me and draw me even closer to Him. In God’s timing I was scripturally released and free to remarry. Today, I am in a very happy marriage.
I had high expectations of a baby fixing my previous marriage, but God had even higher expectations of the mess I was in fixing me. Maybe you are in a situation that you feel has no hope, and you are even wondering how to escape…I hope you hold on long enough to find out what God just might do with your mess.
Because God has high expectations for you, believe me when I say, you can have high expectations of Him!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
In keeping with my High Expectations theme, I have a free PowerPoint for you. Establishing high expectations for your team is critical. If you are delinquent in setting them, be aware of the 6 Realities of NOT Establishing High Expectations for Your Team.
Look for the Chronicles of the Corporate Mom Monthly on the first Friday of every month.
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the principal of a human resources firm specializing in recruiting, training and strategic planning for the automotive industry. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.