What are your personal standards? Is there a standard or a code that you live by? For me my personal standard has evolved over the years with my overall goal being the best that I can be in every area of my life. I want to be the best father I can be, I want to be t he best leader and entrepreneur I can be, I want The Art of Hope to be the best podcast that it can be. Having a high standard is something that I’ve desired privately privately for myself but I was never willing to voice it because once I expressed the standard I was aspiring towards I could then be held accountable.
I grew up in a neighborhood where if you look out your door, you could see the results of low expectations everywhere. Which meant that you didn’t have to strive for much because there isn’t an expectation to become much of anything. For example, society will put low expectations on you to say, “Well, if you come from a certain place and you’ve had certain experiences, then you shouldn’t be held to the same standard as other people. It’s actually okay for you not to accomplish anything because of where you come from.” And so what happens, is that typically people that come from poor areas, they lower the standard because there’s a belief that you can’t accomplish the same thing.
My goal in this episode is to challenge that belief and share my thoughts on why it’s important that we raise the standard for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
My goal is to make this the best podcast for people looking for hope, thank you for listening.
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A link to the episode on Youtube can be found here
00:01 Speaker 1: Thank you for tuning in to The Art of Hope Show. My name is Chadwick Sapenter. I'm looking forward to today's show. In today's show, we're going to be discussing standards, how low standards impact us and why we should raise the standards that we have for ourself and for the people around us.
00:23 Speaker 2: Welcome to The Art of Hope podcast with your host Chadwick Sapenter.
00:28 S1: If you're willing to dream bigger than whatever your environment is, then anything is possible.
00:33 S2: It's time to create the path to your success by overcoming your past, embracing your present and outlining your future.
00:40 S1: Today, that goal becomes a reality.
00:42 S2: Every journey begins with the first step. So let's begin The Art of Hope podcast.
00:51 S1: See, I grew up in a neighborhood where... Or I'll say neighborhoods where if you look out your door, you could see the result of low expectations everywhere. You could see what was happening because people had a low standard of how they expected themselves to carry on and how... And what outcomes that they expected. And so that's me growing up, seeing what low expectations does to an environment because if you have low expectations, then you're not hard on yourself when you don't achieve and achievement matters because you... For example, society will put low expectations on you to say, "Well, if you come from a certain place and you've had certain experiences, then you shouldn't be held to the same standard as other people. It's actually okay for you not to accomplish anything because of where you come from." And so what happens, though, is that typically people that come from poor areas, and they'll usually do this with black people, Mexican people, they will... I mean, we see it all the time. They lower the standard because there's a belief that you can't accomplish the same thing.
02:15 S1: There's some national merit scholarships that says, "Okay, if you qualify forward, if you're in the top 1%, but if you're black," or a term I never use like minority, right? I'm not... Ain't no minor about me. I never use that phrase. But if they put you on one of these categories, then they say, "Well, if you're in the top 3%, lowering the standard for you." I think there's an attempt to say there's been some hardships and injustices that have happened to specific groups of people, so we need to make some concessions to give them time to catch up. In a way, I get it. I understand the attempt, but I think in execution, basically, what it's saying is, "We don't think you're smart enough. We don't think you're capable enough so we wanna make a concession, you with your... You, so that you can... So that this is what it looks like to be equal because something inherently is inferior about you." And I think that's just nonsense, but forget externally, what people... What expectations people set for you or what standards people have for you because that doesn't matter so much. It's not the people outside of you whose expectations and standards have the greatest impact.
03:29 S1: What are your own personal standards? Are you pursuing excellence in everything that you do or are you giving yourself out? Are you pursuing excellence in everything that you do or have you given yourself a way out and made it okay for you to just fall short in certain areas? Because one of the things that I believe is that, if we raise the standard, then we raise the family. And if you raise the family, you raise the community. If you raise the community, you change the culture of the people group that you're around, but it starts with raising the standard forward within the family. Through one of my organisation, a non-profit, we work with a ton of young people. And my thing is I don't like talking about problems, I just wanna get my hands dirty. I'm gonna get in the streets and I'm going to try to be a solution toward some of these problems, but what often happens, we'll go into schools. And what you will see is the results of these low expectations and low standards. Teachers are struggling trying to get DeAndre to read instead of DeAndre dealing with the reading problem, DeAndre cusses out the teacher. And then the teacher calls the parent, and then the parent makes an excuse for the child because the parent's embarrassed at this also.
04:47 S1: One example I remember my wife, she was doing some student teaching at a middle school, and I don't know what book they were reading or whatever it is. And if you met my wife, is just... She's a sweetheart. She's an amazing woman. She's just laid back. She's chill. She's nice to everybody and she really deeply has a compassion for just people, all people. And so she's doing... They're going around the circle and having the kids read and she gets to this kid, I don't know his name, and it's not important 'cause I'm not trying to embarrass the kid because it's just a story, but she gets to him, and he's like, "Bitch, I told you I don't wanna read." He cusses her out. And my wife, I think, at that time, she was probably a lot more innocent than when she met me because you know, but at that time, she was a lot nicer. And so she was in shock that somebody would actually talk to her like this, especially a young person who she's just like, "I just asked him to read. I don't understand what happened." And so the parents come in and sit down with the principal and them, and then the mom does exactly what I just told you, she says, "Well, he told you he didn't wanna read." Now, this kid is screwed. Unless something has changed or somebody's intervened somewhere.
06:08 S1: I'm curious to know what's happened with this specific kid, but I can tell you tons of these stories where you have parents who lower the standard. Who say, "It's okay for you... The expectation is for you to excel and to be elite as an athlete." To be the best basketball, football player, the fastest kid. And so there's a standard of excellence when it comes to that sport. I think that's a good thing. But that standard is not matched when it comes to the other important, either equally or more important just depending on what matters to you, areas of your life. So for example, it's not okay for you to be a great athlete but a horrible student. Not to say... Now, some people actually have learning disabilities. There are things within their brain that they cannot control that prevent them from being able to learn and retain information. That is some people's story. Regardless of the color of their skin, we know that's the fact.
07:01 S1: Now, in those cases we should be getting people help. There are plenty of resources, especially if you're in America, there are resources at just about every school that can help you if you have a learning disability. Often what happens though is that people will be too embarrassed to actually get the help that they need. Nobody wants to admit that they have a learning disability. So instead of saying, "Hey, I actually have a disability, I need help. Let me get into the special education program." People will much rather pretend like everything's okay to avoid the stigma of being labeled as Special Ed or the kids call SPED. But here's the thing, you pretending you don't have a problem doesn't mean you don't have a problem and it doesn't make the problem go away. All it does is prevent you from actually getting the help by identifying the problem and solving it, taking advantage of the resources. But let's say your jump shot be off. Let you be in a situation to where you need extra training and parents are breaking their back to do these things.
08:03 S1: Now, here's the thing, I'm not attacking any specific group. I'm just telling you one from my own experiences, this is what I see. And then for me, who somebody who's deeply concerned about family and communities, especially families and communities of poor people not just poor people that are black or brown, but poor people in general, we see these things happening. And I'm somebody who's grown up extremely poor and I don't want that cycle repeated for my children. So I'm not speaking as an outsider. This is my lived experience. I know what low standards did to me and it wasn't until somebody called me out and said, "Look it's not okay. Your situation doesn't define you. Do something about your life. You can. It's just a matter of what you're gonna do. Stop making excuses. And I've had plenty of mentors. I've had coaches that all called me out and held me to a higher standard even when I wanted to leave it.
08:50 S1: My mother we grew up at the height of the crack era. We grew up in areas where it was violent and gangs were taken off in San Antonio and it was extremely violent. People were getting killed daily. These things were going on. But my mother no matter what was going on, how poor we are, no matter how many days we went out food, she never allowed the environment that we grew up in to dictate what our standard was. She said, "No, reading is important. So we began reading early. Education is important. All of these things. And so even when I acted in a way that was contrary, I knew what the standard was. It wasn't because the standard was lower for me, it's just because I wanted to rebel against it. So I say this, We need to raise the standards to raise the family.
09:35 S1: And if we raise the families then we raise the communities. What we have to do is take inventory and say, "Hey, am I giving myself a pass? Is my child doing something wrong and I'm not addressing it because I don't wanna deal with the confrontation or the conflict? Am I a dad who has been absent from my child's life and making an excuse, "My baby mama be tripping. Or I can't stand the kid's mom." Whatever it is. Are you somebody who's making an excuse for that situation? Have you said, "Well, you know what? I'm not taking care of my child or loving my son or whatever it is because some other... " You're lowering the standard and then you have other people who are making an excuse to say it was not their fault. It's not their fault.
10:26 S1: We have to assume 100% responsibility for the things that we've been given, the privilege to steward over by God. Our families, our children, our jobs, the environment, the community and place that we live in. We all have a responsibility to do our part to uplift those things and to cultivate those things and make them better than where they started. We have a responsibility to do so. But lower standards lower the culture. And if we continue to just lower the standards then what that means is that we will keep seeing struggle with reading and writing. We will say, "Well, that's just not for... " And I have people saying this all the time, that somehow that whether it's the school system is set up for black kids to fail because black kids can't sit... Nonsense like that. Kids can sit still and can learn. We have to just make that important. And it starts at home. It starts with saying, "You know what? I struggle with math or I struggle with reading or whatever it is. But my kids won't. So I'm gonna make sure that I am introducing them to these things at a young age." Sometimes it means we gotta turn the TV off and we have to make it a priority to be getting these things done. We have to help our kids, our sons, our daughters understand that it's not okay to just pass, that there's an expectation for you to be excellent. Sometimes you'll fall short of that expectation but it doesn't change the expectation. The standard is the standard.
12:01 S1: And that's one of the things with my sons, I have a 16 year old and I have younger sons that is six, four and almost two. And my goal with them is just to understand, "Listen, you were created for a purpose. You were made by God to be great." And I've tried to reinforce this since they were little kids and get them to understand that the standard is the standard. The expectation does not change just because your feelings change. The expectation is not lowered just because you don't feel like it. Nobody cares. Nobody cares how you feel. The standard is the standard. So we have to keep the standard high and even... Listen, the problem that we often have in society is not that people have set too high standards and fell short of them. That's not the problem. The problem is often that people have set their standards too low and actually achieved it. Have set the standards too low and actually achieved it.
13:01 S1: We gotta raise those standards, and we gotta set higher expectations for what we expect for ourselves, what we expect for our children, what we expect for our families, and then how we plan to be involved in the communities. Because what happens is this, because you have a lower standard, we accept nonsense. And so I'm not trying to offend anybody, and I'm not trying to say, "Well hey, I'm better than you, so do it my way." What I'm saying is that, we have thousands of years of history where we can look at cultures, we can look at European cultures, we can look at African cultures, we can look at Asian cultures, we can look at... We can look at communities north, south, east and west, and we can say, "Hey lower standards have led to bad things." And we have plenty examples of those things. And so what I'm saying is this, if we will raise our standards, we can raise our, the families, so we should... It starts there, it starts with raising your own personal standards, raising the standards that you have within your own family, and then the standards in the community change as a result of that.
14:18 S1: And as you start to introduce a higher standard, the culture of whatever that community group will change, and it's across the board. We accept this notion that it's okay for grown men to not take responsibility, right? We call 18, 19, 20, 21, 25-year-old men, "Oh, he's just a kid." No. No. You don't get to just be a boy forever, adolescence is some bullshit, adolescence is some straight BS. You don't get to figure it out and play around until you're 30. There's not a magic age where all of a sudden, "Oh now I get it, I've grown up." That's not how it works, we gotta take responsibility now. Young men, man up, young women, woman up. Raise the standard for what you expect for yourself, what you expect for your community, and what you will tolerate for yourself. And so, I believe that if we have strong men, we will have better communities. I believe that if we have men willing to lead in sacrificing for their families, our families will be stronger.
15:26 S1: I believe that if we have men who are being altruistic, putting the needs of others before themselves, and leading, being willing to stand up for what's right no matter what culture says. Being able to determine that regardless of what's going on, here's how I'm operating. If we do that, I think our society will be better, then our world will be better. So thank you guys for tuning in, my name is Chadwick Sapenter, I don't have the answers, I'm not claiming to have all the answers, I'm just on here keeping a promise to myself, you don't have to like what I say, you don't even have to like how I say it, I don't even care. This ain't about you, this is about me keeping a promise to myself, and in the process, if I can help other people, I wanna do so.
16:09 S1: So tune in next time, thank you guys. Tell me, where do you see low standards having a negative impact? What can we be doing better? What does it mean to raise standards for yourself and for your own family? Where have you been making excuses in lowering the standard? I wanna know, I wanna hear all about it. Thank you guys for tuning in, looking forward to next time, have a great day.