The following is a Facebook post of mine from earlier this week, followed by a deep, or perhaps shallow, photo-inspired pondering thought.

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Facebook Funny #2


Here’s the picture, minus the writing on top. We got it goin’ on. LOL.

Trying to earn the Fun Dad and Mom Alert.

Trying to earn the Fun Dad and Mom Alert.

Photo Ponderings…

It was easy for my husband and I to crack up about this attempted anniversary dinner date faux pas.

However, I might not have always been so flexible or understanding.

Unmet Expectations.

I mean, afterall, it’s our 29th anniversary coming up. I want to be taken away on a trip here, given this gift, told these words, given this special card with words of affirmation pointing out allmy admirable attributes. I want this type of party, and these friends invited, and these napkins, andthese decorations with this color scheme. I want, I want, I want.

For years, my ideal expectations for special occasions, when unmet, caused frustration, until one day… I realized the key to not being disappointed was for me to change. To lighten up.

Change Your Focus.

I recall a specific radio broadcast from Focus on the Family in which the guest speaker, a mom, shared that on Mother’s Day, she wrote a note to each of her children expressing love and affirmation, saying how blessed she is to be their mother.

I began to do this on Mother’s Day (which, for many, is one of the saddest days of the year, in my opinion). My focus was on gratefulness not expectation. Giving not receiving. Others not self.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate how both sets of our parents have been such a blessing. I believe this might be rather rare. Neither set of our parents have ever added pressure to any of their kids or grandkids, regarding expectations from them for birthdays, anniversaries, where/who we spend holidays with- not insisting that the division of time be exactly even or “fair.”  I will say that we do try to spend time with both equally, but we are not constantly worried about someone keeping tally marks.

Please note: I’m not condoning slipping to flippancy regarding the special events in the lives of others. I am, however, suggesting taking a look from a different angle. Do you add pressure to your family members (and/or friends) by your extreme demands for attention and your expectations of being praised and acknowledged in a way that you have conjured up to be the exact level that makes you feel valued? Do your family members walk on eggshells, stressing about gift giving, card-buying? Have you produced or are you currently producing adult children who, when married, have to be sure to equal out time between parents/in-laws to the day or gift giving to the dollar?

Lighten Up.

If that’s you…lighten up. Ask the Holy Spirit if any of the above applies to you. If not, let it go. If He reveals that you own any of this, acknowledge this with your kids, express an apology, and seek to be intentional to change.

Focus on giving rather than receiving. Serving rather than being served. Laughter rather than tension.

You know, we laughed together about my husband’s phone call, asking me for an anniversary dinner date…on our son’s birthday. We ended up having a wonderful birthday dinner with the few members of our own family who were home, both sets of grandparents, and a few neighbors. We had a great evening. Here’s the birthday boy…with the touch of “Laura flare” banner.  And, shhhh..don’t tell him this, but I’m hoping for another phone call inviting me to an anniversary dinner date.

John III holding the birthday banner his little sister made for him.

John III holding the birthday banner his little sister made for him.

Yikes. Ponder these.

  • If your family was able to be completely transparent with you regarding the pressure they feel with your special occasions, what would they say?
  • Actually, is your family able to be honest in their answers to you, or are they sceeeeered?
  • How would they describe your expectations?
  • How do you handle unmet expectations?

If the answer would be they stress out to ensure gift giving to meet your specific standards, then a change in heart and a change in your focus may be in order.

Have you experienced a time when you lightened up in this area? Tell us about it.

Rhonda ontheotherhand,myfamhasworktodowithbettergiftgiving!Justsayin’ ellis

  1. Mel

    the key to a grand birthday? lower your expectations & be about others

    This, I had to learn.

  2. Adonna Gattis

    Okay, Rhonda. I totally get the notion of going for a Fun Dad and Mom Alert. Just be careful not to confuse it with it’s less stellar recognition award, “Goofy Dad & Mom Alert”. 😉

    • You may be right, Adonna. It’s a good thing I continue to nominate myself for these awards. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get any…or I’d get ones that give insight to how my kids really feel about this type of behavior. LOL.

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