Monday, September 22, 2014


"I can't get the lawnmower started."

"I can't get the horses into the barn."

"I can't work this math problem."

"I can't hoe this whole row of beans myself."

Seems that often as a girl, I was telling my Dad, "I can't (fill in the blank)!"

And almost as often as I said "I can't....", my Dad simply replied, "Can't never could."

Usually, Dad's reply really got up my nose.

You see, Dad knew that my problem wasn't that I lacked the ability to do whatever-it-was. My problem was usually that I simply didn't want to do it badly enough to exert the necessary physical or mental effort. Or perhaps I lacked confidence that I could do a particular task and simply needed a push.

"Can't never could" was Dad's way of saying:  giving up at the first sign of difficulty never enabled anyone to accomplish anything. If I say "I can't" and then quit trying, well, then, the truth is, I never will, regardless of whether I actually can or not.

I am beginning a new venture - this writing thing - and I feel like a very small boat in a very large and uncharted sea. Intimidated? Yes. Insecure? Absolutely! Do I really think I can do this successfully? Well...

I work out with a wonderful group of women several mornings a week. I love the physical exercise and social interaction, but, even more, I love the encouragement these women give me, both by their words and by their lives.

One has battled and beaten cancer. Another has overcome other chronic health issues. Broken marriages, challenges with kids, addictions - many of these women have looked in the face of truly difficult circumstances and, instead of giving up and saying "I can't," they have said, "I can overcome this."

Several of these ladies have begun new ventures - their own businesses and ministries - perhaps, some would say, rather late in life. When I look at these remarkable women and consider the challenges they have faced and successfully met, I consider my own little enterprise and I begin to think, "Maybe I can, too."

One thing I learned from my Dad:  "Can't" is often an excuse for not even trying.

And can't...never could.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will bet that you can. It is the next step that is the most difficult. After the next step the rest are a breeze. Dad