Monday, August 1, 2011

This isn't a Vacuum

Nowadays, we hear about scientific studies as often as we hear the weather report and everyday it seems like "they" are recommending something new.  As a new parent, you are extra aware of such things because everyone shares their 'knowledge'.  Everything from what we eat, how we medicate, how we parent to weight-loss, relationships and finance - no matter what subject we're talking about, it's probably been studied and there are probably conclusions somewhere telling us how to live.

The trouble is, we don't live in a vacuum like many of the test subjects we hear about in the evening news. Now, I'm not knocking research because we all know that much is still being gained by some of the work being done.  My concern is how we adapt to or apply this information.  Too often we hear a one liner like, "Experts now say that balancing an apple on your nose for 3 minutes before bed can reduce your risk of dying from a dog bite" and then start working on balancing apples, expecting vicious dogs to flee rapidly.  This is a silly example (on purpose), but we do this so much.

In our daily lives their are so many factors at play, that narrowing things down to a one-liner is just not reasonable.  There are so many things that experts cannot account for or anticipate that what they should really say, "In a boring, perfect world, experts now say...  Think about all of those drug commercials - that's why the disclaimer is longer than the commercial half the time.  Only under specific circumstances will this thing work.

Here's what I'm really getting at: How are your expectations of others or of circumstances driving you and your actions?  Don't we expect others to be perfect and when they aren't we judge, maybe belittle (even if only in our mind), and label them as a lost cause for good? And sure, in an ideal world where children behave perfectly, traffic is never a nuisance and self-esteem is never a problem, then this person should behave 'perfectly'.  But leaders still have arguments with their spouses, injuries still happen, and moms get tired of saying no, even when it is for the child's best interest.  We don't live in a vacuum where this one idea or issue never is influenced by anything else in our life.  People do get their feelings hurt and overreact.  Stress often weakens good judgement.  And everything you hear isn't necessarily true.

Happy August, where school begins anew, summer extends its stay and we're one month closer to the end of 2011.  This week think about your expectations of others and then apply that standard to yourself to see if you can live up to it.  If not, maybe we should work a little bit harder to help rather than criticize. 

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