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ID-100207241Our two and half year old has developed a habit of saying “I can’t” when attempting almost anything new.  I never thought much of it until last week when I heard something else with the words.

I heard fear.

Here’s what happened…

Our four year old daughter had just jumped a very short distance off something.  Ever imitating his sister, our son walked to the same spot, looked down, prepared himself to jump and then froze.  He began crying and said “I can’t.  I can’t.”  But it was the fear in his voice that I heard that caught my attention.

After thinking it over and talking with my wife about it, I decided to help my son change his language.

Now, we are correcting him when he say’s “I can’t” to say “I won’t”.

“I can’t” is a victim of circumstance term.

“I won’t” is a choice I make for myself.

Now, there are things my son can’t do.  He currently can’t swim and he can’t ride a bike.  These are “I can’t, yet” issues.

He’s in the 95% for height and weight, most likely he can’t be a horse jockey in the Kentucky Derby, he’ll be too big.  There will be other things he can’t do in life, and I’m okay with that.

I want to help my boy grow up and realize that he is less of a victim of circumstance and more in control than he thinks.

I don’t believe in teaching kids; “you can do anything you sit your mind to.”  That’s simply false.

Instead, I want to discover along with my kids what God has gifted them uniquely to do for Him and for others.


What about you?  Do you use “I can’t” when really you should use “I won’t”?

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