Have you ever thought that the common phrase “just do your best” might encourage the opposite? Homeschooled teenagers Alex and Brett Harris explain how high expectations encourage excellence, on today’s Home School Heartbeat with Mike Farris.
Alex, in your book you and your brother Brett talk about the importance of teenagers rising above low expectations—why do you think the common phrase of “just do your best” is a trap?
Well, what Brett and I have found is that the phrase “just do your best” often times encourages exactly the opposite. Because we say “just do your best” but what it really means is, you have permission to just get by. It doesn’t inspire us to reach for more, it enables us to say: “Hey, I tried, and that’ll just have to be good enough.” And what that really speaks to is the issue of complacency. The low expectations of our culture really try to get us one of two ways. One is apathy, just buying into the low expectations; the other is complacency, feeling smug and content with who we are and what we’ve done because we're comparing ourselves to the low expectations of our society. And that’s why we feel that homeschoolers can be especially susceptible because we’re above average in many respects and we can say, “Wow, we must be doing great because we’re doing better than the cultural norm or the cultural expectations.” But, in a cultural of low expectations, in a culture of mediocrity, being above average is not the goal. So we need to rise above complacency and really strive for excellence, strive for holiness, strive for God’s standards for young people.
Those are great thoughts, Alex. I really appreciate it. Thanks for joining me, we’ll continue tomorrow. I’m Mike Farris.