Editor’s Note:  We are honored today to feature a guest post from a very gifted writer and blogger, Rebekah Canonico.  Rebekah, a member of the Integress Solutions Tribe, wrote this after noticing a posting on our Facebook page that said, “Success comes in CAN’S, not CAN’TS.” 

I have a three-year-old son named Caleb. He is bright, funny, passionate, and quite charming. He is also stubborn and very strong willed. I often think about the kind of man I hope he will grow into. Something that is important to me is that Caleb learns to do things himself. While this is a simple principle, it is so easy for well meaning parents to become a hindrance without even realizing it. Instinctively, it seems that we tend to over-help and over-protect. This is born out of a desire to watch our kids grow and succeed. However, if we aren’t careful, we can cripple them by not empowering them to stand up on their own two feet. I know my son is only three, but the practices we implement now can follow us throughout our lives.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” - Henry Ford

It irks me to hear Caleb say, “I can’t do it!” Most of the time, I know he can do whatever it is he claims he can’t do. The issue is usually that he isn’t willing to try or he doesn’t want to have to do it himself, no matter how simple the task may be. rebekah3He would rather lay on the ground naked than get himself dressed. He pouts and asks me to do it for him. This never ceases to irritate me. Even in this simple example, I am not helping him grow into a self sufficient person by doing something for him he can surely do on his own. Instead, I would be a hindrance to his growth and development.

I am not at all against accepting help or giving help by any means. If there is something we have tried, worked hard at, and truly are in need of help of, by all means, seek and accept that help. But don’t give up because something is hard and daunting. That only sells us short and gets in the way of our potential for growth.

My son’s grandfather was born into a poor and unruly part of Boston. Born with a currently incurable degenerative disease and a whole slew of other medical issues, he has battled his health his entire life. From open-heart surgery to hundreds of other surgeries and doctor appointments, my son’s grandfather remains to be one of the most optimistic people I have ever met. He has an overwhelmingly “can do” attitude in his life. Despite all of the odds stacked against him since birth, he never let anything stop him from becoming successful in his career. He became the very best at what he did, and did it all because of the love he has for his family. He pushed himself every day to overcome any obstacle and achieve his goals. And he did it over and over again, until he became known as the best in his field. Every day, he lives with chronic pain from his illness and many surgeries. But if you ask him, he will tell you how he is the luckiest man in the world.

We owe it to ourselves to give our goals our best shot, whatever that may be. And we owe it to ourselves to turn those cant’s, into cans.

rebekah1We were each born with different abilities and strengths. We owe it to ourselves and to our community to explore these abilities and flourish. We owe it to ourselves to give our goals our best shot, whatever that may be. And we owe it to ourselves to turn those cant’s, into cans.

Having the “I can” or “I will” mindset helps instill self-confidence and the determination to reach further and accomplish what we hope to. I am so glad when I am able to witness Caleb gain confidence upon realizing that he can do things independently. I try my best not to give into his stubborn will of “I can’t”. I wait, and I push him, until he finally does it himself. My favorite moment after these routine standoffs end is when he brightly looks at me and says, “Look mom! I did it!” And I proudly reply, “Yes Caleb, you did.” My hope is that these moments continue to happen throughout his life, as he accomplishes all the big and little things he can surely do.

Whatever the goal or obstacle that it is we face, we can be assured that laying down in defeat will not get us to where we want to go. At the very least, we have a responsibility to ourselves to muster up as much courage and motivation as possible and to keep taking steps forward. We may even surprise ourselves with what we can achieve when we give ourselves the chance.

Rebekah Canonico is a single working mama to a funny and smart little boy. She loves God, people, food, and cake. You can read more of her random thoughts at her blog rebbywalks.blogspot.com. You can also email her at rebekahamy46@gmail.com.  And, as always, you are welcome to leave your comments and feedback below!