em·u·late[v. em-yuh-leyt; adj. em-yuh-lit] Show IPAverb, -lat·ed, -lat·ing, adjective
verb (used with object)
to try to equal or excel; imitate with effort to equal or surpass: to emulate one's father as a concert violinist (dictionary.com)
I always thought emulate meant copy but when I read the full description I was surprised at the surpass part. Secretly we all want to be better. Better at maintaining our work, better at being a mom, better than our neighbor. Nah, none of us want to better than another person. Right? Well I don't know about you but I fight that urge all the time.
Common codependent behavior, strive for excellence! Don't let anything keep you from doing your best. Well, I would love to say that I always do my best, but that would be a flat out lie. Nobody can do their best all of the time? I would even risk saying that most people don't even do their best most of the time.
We tell our kids to do their best but do we prepare them for failure too. If we constantly strive for excellence and then don't get it, what happens? Do you get disappointed? Do you get angry? Do you work harder?
Unrealistic expectations is a word I hear a lot in Celebrate Recovery. It isn't until I examined my life that I realized I had some unrealistic expectations of people. I expected my husband to shoulder the weight of my issues and my baggage. I didn't even know that I was doing it. I expected my mom to be able to be there for me anytime I wanted, when my dad left. I didn't consider the toll it took on her and how much she did sacrifice. I realized that I was setting myself up for failure if I strive for excellence in everything and of everyone.
When someone disappoints us we need to see where we went wrong too. Were we expecting too much out of them? Were we holding that prize a little too high so that it was impossible for them to reach it? I used to do this to a coworker. I didn't mean to always, but she was so hard for me to love. We differed on so much, but what really bothered me about her was what we did the same. Everything was a competition. Who could do their work better. Who had the better car. Who looked better. Who helped others better. What a contradiction to what Christ had done for us. But, I didn't realize why we fought each other. I think I saw things in her that she did that I didn't like and deep down I knew I struggled with the same thing. Her life pointed out my failures on an hourly basis. But instead of working through them I pretended that her faults were the plank and I only had sawdust if any. What a shame! I took a potential friend and child of God and turned them into an enemy. We emulated each other to the breaking point.
One of my big fears about homeschooling is that I will set unrealistic expectations on Joslyn and not see how I am setting her up to fail. So to combat that I am praying now for guidance and compassion. Forgiveness and boldness. She is very strong willed as a toddler and we struggle through many things right now. From brushing her hair to nap time, even the simplest things can become a battle if I let them. So I try and remember to pick my battles. Is it really important to fight with her about this? If I let her have her way is it going to be dangerous or damaging to her or what we are trying to accomplish? Most importantly, I want to remember that in failing their are lessons too. Like forgiveness, and asking for help, and compassion, and helping others because you have been there too! That is what God designed our lives to be, to help each other. That is why He lets us go through the storm instead of removing it.
Emulating isn't always bad. It is impossible for us to not copy each other, in my opinion. Sometimes we take someones idea and make it our own or make it better. That is how most things were invented. Joslyn emulates me all the time and every time she does she is learning. Learning word sounds and numbers and emotions and reactions. For example she has learned the word NOW because mommy says pick up your cup Joslyn and when she doesn't do as told, Mommy usually adds the word now with a firm voice. Joslyn will say to me "Cracker! Now! It is funny how you don't even realize the words you say until your toddler says them. After all I picked up my talking habits from emulating those around me. And they emulated someone else.
I am trying to learn the best home school techniques by emulating the home school mothers I know that do it well. I have gotten on a home school website and look for ideas and tools and tricks of the trade. I follow advise and give advise too. God made us each unique with different situations and different ideas. If we put our ideas together, we can come up with the best ideas. But our ideas won't work for everyone and we have to give credit where credit is due. I try and remember that the idea is no more important than the person. If it is someone's idea I ask and then if they say no, then move on to something else. God will work on their heart and He will work on you too. These are some things that I am learning everyday!