[nfbwatlk] the power of words

Mary Ellen gabias at telus.net
Fri Mar 26 19:19:00 UTC 2010

The word "striving" has some of the same problems as the word "trying." Both
imply permission to fail.
We rarely get more from life than we genuinely expect. The question for
each of us is what our level of expectation should be. 
I might say that my child should be getting straight A's. In that case, does
the occasional B make my child a failure? On the other hand, if I tell my
child that C minus is fine, what are my child's chances of excelling at
We all know people who have set expectations for themselves far higher than
the expectations of their families and schools. They have not only had to
work to reach the levels they expected of themselves; they also had to
overcome the burden placed on them by the low expectations of others.
We all also know people who could never enjoy success because their own
expectations were so high that nothing they ever could do would be
satisfactory in their own minds.
Although both extremes are destructive, I tend to agree with Noel that our
words shouldn't proclaim limitations or offer excuses.
As for the question of people of differing abilities, supported living might
be a lofty goal for some students. For them, living in a group home and
working at a job with ongoing support is as much to be celebrated as a Ph.D.
in biochemistry would be for another student. The problems arise when the
student who could achieve a Ph.D. is steered toward a group home or the
student who could best serve the world from a group home is not fully
We ask the school, and I believe we have a right to expect it, to know how
to set the dream for each student accurately high.

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