Wonder: The power of Many “You Can’ts”….The power of one “You Can”

I wonder how many of us (seemingly grown adults) still live among the “you can’ts” we were fed as children. I wonder how we limit ourselves, how we stay in our assigned boxes, how we surrender to what just won’t ever be…

I don’t know who said it first. I don’t know who repeated it next. I don’t have some horrible scarring memory. I don’t blame anyone, but I know it was said and reinforced, and ultimately believed…by me.

“Katie can’t.” “Katie’s just not athletic.” “It’s just not Katie’s thing.” “Katie can’t.” “Katie can’t.”

It marked my childhood and my formative years. I wasn’t athletic. I couldn’t play sports. I wasn’t meant for it. I wasn’t built for it. I wasn’t programmed for it. I just couldn’t.

Important Sidenote- this isn’t a pitty party. Honestly, there are worse things that children hear every day. This is just my humble example to illustrate my point.

So, here’s  Little Katie. Let’s be totally frank, here. There was probably a lot of truth in their assumption that I couldn’t do it. I was super coordinated, didn’t have a competetive bone in my body, and really showed little interest in any sporting activity. But as we age, these statements become long-held truths that we “know” about ourselves. I knew that I would never be like my siblings. I’d never play a soccer game, I’d never run a marathon, I’d never be a triathlete. Never….never…never…because I simply can’t.

Fastforward to January 2012. I’m 32 years old for Heaven’s sake. I need to shed some baby weight and get back in shape. So, I join a little group called LexRunLadies. I show up (knowing the truths about myself, but hoping they won’t smell it on me and kick me out of the group immediately). A gentle, kind, welcoming soul is waiting for me – enter Krissie Carr Bentley.

Over the last six months, I’ve heard these words from her mouth (directed at me no less!)

“You CAN do this!”

“You absolutely can do this.”

“Can you believe you’re doing this?”

“You’re a runner!”

“You’re really a runner!”

One person. One honest, kind soul. She undid 32 years of “You can’ts”. She made me believe. Little Katie Havelda that simply knew she couldn’t finally knows she can. One cheerleader was all I needed. One, honest, kind soul.

I can.

I do.

I will.

So my wonderings lead me to this:

What have you been told over and over that you can’t do? Why do you believe them? Is there any real reason, you can’t change the truth about yourself and say, “Actually, you’re wrong. I can.” and then, just do! I think you can!

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Wonder: If we all saw each other like Jana sees her students

In 2002, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. I was blessed beyond all measure. Transylvania University’s Education Program placed me in Jana Callahan’s kindergarten classroom for my student teaching experience. I was to spend seven hours per day for an entire semester learning from one of the greatest teachers of all time. I didn’t even know how lucky I was.

I’ve been in education for ten years now. I can honestly say, Jana is one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen in action. She taught me so many things about the art of teaching, I can’t even begin to write about all of them, but here’s the one that I remember most clearly and think of most often.

I was trying to get 25 five year olds to line up for lunch – no small task. Just imagine trying to herd cats!

“Boys and girls, I can’t take you into the hallway like this. You’re not in a straight line. You are too noisy. You’re not following the rules. This just won’t work.”

Simple enough, right? I’ve heard teachers make similar statements 1000 times over.

That afternoon, Jana said to me in her gentle, sweet way, “Katie, if you want them to be perfect, tell them they are. Simply say, ‘Look at my perfect line. I love how you’re all quiet and facing this way. You are the most wonderful bunch. I can’t wait to take you into the hallway and show you off.'” – the words of a master.

I can’t tell you how many  times in the last ten years I’ve lined up a rowdy group with this one little trick. (and trust me, there have been some rowdy ones!)

But often I’ve taken it a step further with people in my life (usually children but not always). I tell people what I think they are, what I think they can be, and hope they will see themselves through my eyes.

Is it possible? Could we really change how people feel about themselves and one another just by following Jana’s simple, sweet wisdom? Could we tell each other that we are more powerful, more intelligent, more kind, gentler, stronger, wiser, or more peaceful? By simply seeing what isn’t there yet, but could be, could we make the world what we hope it will be?

Jana, I believe we can. Thank you, my sweet friend, for the love and wisdom you shared with me. Thank you for using your own trick on me (don’t think I didn’t figure it out!)

Jana Callahan suffered a brain aneurysm on Friday morning. She is in critical condition at UK Hospital. Please send powerful and unceasing prayers for her full recovery.

A place to remember…

Sometimes life gest so busy. Sometimes we’re just so “stressed.” Sometimes we lose sight of what matters most.

This is a place for me to document and remember those things that make life so beautiful – the giggles, the love, and the wonder. I am a busy, stay-at-home mom who is infinitely blessed. Sometimes I think I live in a little slice of Heaven. Sometimes I remember to take deep breaths and thank the universe and the Divine for all that I have been given.

But I am merely human and sometimes, I forget. I forget how lucky I am. I forget that there are millions of people in this world that would absolutely kill to live my life. I forget that the little annoying things don’t really matter as much as I think they do. I get “busy” and I forget to STOP and enjoy the giggles, embrace the love, and continue to wonder.

Maybe this will help keep me focused on those three things in my life – giggles, love, and wonder. Maybe, just maybe, a few people will read this occassionally and they’ll get a giggle from my unique perspective, or maybe they’ll giggle a little more about their own crazy life! Perhaps one or two people will join me in a true, authentic celebration of love – all kinds of love (love of children, love of the Divine, love of ice cream, love of sleep!!!) Maybe just celebrating love, will make us all love a little more. I wonder what this tiny, insignificant blog could actually do. I wonder…