When Expectations are Wrong

My oldest was at middle school camp last week with our church youth group.  It was her first time at THIS camp, she has been to elementary camp the three years prior.  While she was away I was pouring through the pictures, searching for one of her smiling face.  I didn’t see her, didn’t see her, didn’t see her.  I finally got one of her in a canoe.

As we picked her up and drove home, she started telling us about her amazing week away – the worship, the messages, her counselors, the friends she had made.  I tried to casually slip into conversation whether or not she had tried any of the more challenging activities – the high ropes course, the rock climbing wall, the giant slip and slide.  Every one of them was answered with a “no”, and her reason why.

Friends, I really struggled listening to her.  She hadn’t tried some of the essential experiences of camp!  But then I really, really thought about her, and what she was saying. She hadn’t missed out on anything.  Our ideas of “essential experiences” were completely different, and it turns out mine were wrong.

When expectations are wrong, it can lead to heaps of trouble – hurt feelings, miscommunication, disappointment, disapproval, and more.  Expectations can be too high, too low, and unrealistic.  I wonder if when they’re just plain wrong, we didn’t really understand the big picture in the first place?

I’m thankful for my girl, that she experienced what she wanted and needed to, that she  shared about her week, and she shared passionately.  I’m thankful I had the opportunity to see her instead of my idea of what camp should be.


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