Two weeks ago, I had an epiphany. I realized that all of the areas in which I have an interest and/or a professional stake share a common problem. If readers of this blog will remember, some time back I promised upcoming posts about the American church, the American education system, and the American government/economy. These posts never materialized; mostly because I’m lazy, but also partly because I didn’t have a coherent argument to make for any of them.
But, as I said, two weeks ago, all of that changed.
I realized that the number one issue in all of these areas is low expectations. We set the bar low, and then are frustrated because that’s as high as people go. We treat everyone like children or idiots or idiotic children. And then we’re surprised when the result is idiotic childlike behavior.
It’s a simple concept. If we start expecting excellence, we will start seeing it. In the Church, we treat all Christians like infants who can’t understand anything beyond the superficial. We feed them nothing but milk all the way through their lives and never upgrade them to solid food.
In the schools, we meet every kid “where they are” and fail to push them past the “standard.” If the system gets its desired test scores, it moves on to the next student. (For the record, I’m in favor of meeting kids where they are. We just can’t leave them there.)
And in our government, we are increasingly sending this message: “We don’t think you’re capable of caring for yourself or making your own decisions, so we’ll do it for you. We have to protect you from yourself.”
For me, the solution to most of the problems in this country is simply to start expecting better things from people, and then holding them accountable. I plan to go more in depth in future posts with each of the particular areas where I think this idea would be most effective, but I believe this concept can be applied to just about every facet of life and be a spark for radical, positive change.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as I continue to develop the idea further.