Good boy? No! Now do it all again blindfolded. Do it again while carrying 50 pounds of chains around your neck. And again while tethered to a stake. Four times. This time fetch six balls simultaneously, juggling them on your way back.
Good puppy? No! If you drop a ball, you have failed. If you break the rope, you fail. If you fall down from the weight, you fail. Bump into something? Fail. Step off the grassy area? Fail. And if anything gets in the way, you have failed.
Do parents, teachers, bosses, administrators, or elected officials ever overreach? Do we ever expect more than someone can give? Do we ever demand so much that it becomes incomprehensible? Do we ever overload someone's shoulders that we break a person?
How we treat others makes a difference in their reactions to us. Whether stranger, foe, friend, family member, or employee we must be aware of the ways in which people - not dogs - react to our words and actions. We must open our eyes to how our expectations for a person can affect their opinions of us and their desires to remain in their relational role to us.
Do I want you to be my friend? Then I must be friendly to you. Do I want an employee to respect me? Then I should treat my employee with respect, with full understanding that I may be expecting more than the employee is capable of producing. Do I want my children to enjoy learning? Then I need to teach my children with love, with the idea that I can frustrate him/her with pie-in-the-sky goals. Do I desire a happy life with the people I love? Then I must not expect those people to give me more than I give them.
I cannot treat my employees like slaves, my children like workhorses, or my constituents like minions and expect them not to despise me, resent their relationships with me, and dare I say, hate me. There must be a balance struck between setting and stretching toward a goal and burdening people with unreasonable expectations. Have I done this with my students? With my own children? With my employees? With my constituents? If so, then I probably should reevaluate my own actions toward them and adjust my treatments accordingly.
Good dog? Yes. Now let's improve. Together.
so that they will not lose heart."
(Colossians 3:21, NASB).