Monday, February 2, 2015

I Can and I Will

I sat back to watch the Golden Globes a few weeks ago and I was moved by a speech by Gina Rodriguez.  She cried as she told a story of her father.  Anytime she felt she couldn't do something, he would say, "Today is a great day.  You can and you will."  He would ask her to say it back and she would repeat, "Today is a great day.  I can and I will."  At the end of the speech she said, "Dad, today was a great day. I can and I DID."  I decided to start using this great motivational tidbit with my children but I didn't quite expect the outcome.

I found myself using the words anytime they became frustrated with a task.  "I can't do it by myself!" my three year old would whine as he struggled with his shoes.  
"You can and you will, bud," I would say calmly. 

"I can't figure out this math problem!" my oldest would wail.  
"You can and you will," I would say. 

Apparently they were listening.

We had gone outside to do my oldest's spelling words in sidewalk chalk while the other two played.  My oldest was very frustrated with the fact that he was working while the other two "messed around".  Rather than demanding playtime, he decided to get creative.  He said he wanted to "get a bunch of things for Rosie and Drew to play with while I spell."  I went along with it and watched him pull out trucks, balls and blocks then litter the driveway with more toys than we would play with in a week.  He carefully built a road out of blocks for Rosie to play with then returned to the sidewalk chalk.  But his eyes were not leaving the block road.

"Your first word is 'glad'.  Spell 'glad'," I prompted.  Seeing an opportunity, my three year old went over to reconstruct the blocks.  

"DREW!!! You can't touch the block road!  It's for ROSIE!" he yelled as the veins popped out of his neck.

"Luke, you are doing spelling right now.  Let Drew play.  Spell 'glad'."

"But MOMMY!  He's messing it up!  He's ruining everything!"

"You can rebuild it later.  If you can't do spelling outside, I am going to send you inside to copy your words."

"Fine," he said as his shoulders slumped in defeat.  "Drew, you CAN'T mess with the blocks while I do spelling!" he said in one last effort to control the situation.

My three year old looked him dead in the eyes and said, "Luke.  I can and I will."

While that wasn't exactly what I meant, I appreciated the sureness in his voice.  He has let his brother run the show for quite awhile and he has reached his limit.  The words, "I can and I will" empowered him.  And wasn't that the purpose?

Sometimes we just have to decide to make something happen.  Maybe we are burdened by past failures or regrets.  Maybe we think we are too old, too young or too busy to make it happen.  Regardless, we have to stand up for ourselves, do that thing we've always dreamed of, or push ourselves beyond our comfort zone.  Today, please know that you can and you will.  You just have to decide.

What have you always dreamed of doing?  What is holding you back?  How can you throw away those fears today?

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