Continuing my family rules this next one brings out the rebel in me…and in all of my children. If someone tells you you can’t do something, PROVE THEM WRONG! This teaches them that the world is not right. It’s not right about a lot of things, but it’s especially not right about what you can and can not do. People said the 4-minute mile was impossible because medically your heart would be overworked and you would die… Until Roger Bannister did it… and then many, many more after that.
I am not just talking about the “impossible tasks” here. I am talking about every day someone telling you that you “can’t” do something. They don’t usually mean it in a malicious way, but it gets in your head, then you start believing you actually can’t do things. That is not OK!
Only if It’s Important to YOU
When someone says I “can’t” do something, I cringe, my rebel comes out and my defenses pop up. I don’t want to hear anything else that person has to say. I don’t react that way (of course) but I understand a little more about them and frankly in most cases I lose a little respect for them. I have learned to respond in a cordial way, remove myself from them and then decide if this thing is actually worth doing for me.
If it’s not worth it, I won’t pursue it. It won’t make a difference in my life if I prove them wrong or not if it isn’t important to me so I have to decide. Is this worth time and energy to me? Or would I be doing this for the wrong reasons (just to prove someone wrong)? If it is for me, go all out! Prove to them and yourself that you can’t say can’t! It’s just a lie someone told you because they didn’t think it was possible.
I teach my children that someone’s response is never about them, it’s about the person and the glasses they are viewing the world from.
Can’t is a Bad Word
Can’t is a bad word in my house. This was a hard lesson to teach them when they were little. They would go to school and get told they “can’t” do things all the time. They learned that word and would come home and say it. It would be directly related to their self-esteem. Watch your child say they “can’t” one time. Watch their eyes, their body language. It is heart breaking. I see their confidence leave their bodies when that word exits their mouth. I decided a long time ago that they were not allowed to say that word.
When your child says can’t ask them why they think that. It’s usually not because they actually can’t do it. Help them rephrase their statement.
“I can’t hit the net to make the goal.” Yes, they can so how else could you say that?
“I will practice extra this week so in my game Saturday I will make a goal!”
On the other hand if they actually are not capable of doing something or not allowed, help them find a better word than “can’t”. Or you could argue the possibility of it.
“I am not allowed to go on the grass because they just planted it.” Well that’s OK because it needs time to get healthy.
My son talks about a lot of stuff that I don’t understand, when he says something isn’t possible I ask him what if it is possible? We have had talks of space, time, black holes, dark matter, alternate dimensions… anything is possible. He has called me out when I say something isn’t possible too. I have grown to hate the word “impossible” just as much as “can’t”
Not saying the word “can’t” helps to create a positive outlook in everything they do. Think about it, if you say “I can’t” the conversation generally ends there, your mind doesn’t want to attempt something you can’t do. But if it’s important to you, you rephrase your sentence and your mind follows. “I can’t get good grades” turns to “I have to work harder than some other people, but I will get good grades!”
We all want this positivity in our children’s lives. It starts when they are young! This will cross over to their careers too. Who would you rather work for? or have working for you? The guy that says he can’t do something or the guy that figures out how it could be possible?
This way of thinking teaches my children not only TO question everything, but HOW to question everything. Something my dad taught me was to question everything! Ask questions until you understand. Our world would be a much better place if people understood what they were following instead of hearing something pretty and blindly following someone or something.
This particular lesson will help my children with their friend choices, their spirituality, their careers, and everything else in their lives. What a wonderful gift to teach your child to ask questions and encourage them to do so instead of shutting them down when they ask you.
“They” Are Always Wrong
Whether you prove someone wrong or you choose that it isn’t worth your energy, they are always wrong saying you “can’t” do something. They most likely don’t say it because of something you lack, they usually say it because they don’t understand how one could accomplish such a task. When they are told what to think and believe they don’t get how someone else could defy their thoughts and beliefs. When they say this to you, they are wrong. If it means that much to you and you work hard and smart, you can do anything.
Can’t is a bad word
Do it for You
Do it because you love it
Peace and Balance,