Expectations, no matter how powerfully felt, are only ideas garnished with hope.
The above quotation (I assume it’s a quotation; see the endnote) appeared in my Twitter feed yesterday. Normally I don’t pay that much attention to quotations presented in isolation as truths. One reason is the lack of context. It is too easy to interpret a quotation in ways that may be far from its actual meaning. But I have found myself thinking about this one.
I may be wrong, but the quotation seems filled with futility and even cynicism. The words no matter and only connote disappointment; garnish may add a decorative effect to food, but no real flavor or nutritional value. Thus, expectations and ideas and hope seem worthless.
But aren’t those some of the most valuable things we have? They excite us; they inspire us. They prompt us to imagine; they encourage us to strive. The most effective leaders cause these feelings to surge through us while motivating us to become better than we may have thought possible. Certainly they rest within the heart of education.
Cynicism is easy. The world provides plenty of reasons to become that way, and such an outlook can become an easy excuse. We must have the resilience and courage—and help young people to develop them—to believe in expectations and ideas and hope. After all, where we would be without them?
[i] I say unattributed because the tweet did not provide a source, a situation which annoys me. I tried to find the source via Google, but all I could find were a couple of other people who had tweeted it. So some people are not giving credit where it’s due. Plus I would simply like to know.