Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moving From I Think I Can to I Know I Can

As a father, one of the most important things that I impart to my children is the idea that they can do just about anything they put their mind to. It was something my own folks shared with me and is, for me, a critical element in raising kids who are willing and empowered to step out into this world and tackle whatever it throws at them.

Personally, however, this is a struggle. Perhaps the veneer on my parent’s teaching began to fade just a bit when, as a three-year-old at a block party, I scaled the steps to a tree house, rising a few stories above the ground, and leapt out, fully and completely expecting myself to fly.  I mean, Superman could do it; why couldn’t I?

Two sprained ankles later (I swear there was Kryptonite around somewhere) and I was starting to doubt the fact that I could really do anything.

And as I’ve aged, it’s been even more things.  Whether its circumstances, situations, or physics, there’s a lot that I’ve not accomplished.  And, if I’m really, really honest, I know that those falterings, (okay, let’s call it what it is) those failures, were largely the result of my lack of faith in myself.

The thing that I don’t understand though, is how much easier it is to believe in others. When my friends have stepped into different challenging endeavors, I’m the first to cheer them on, to offer up that uplifting word. The same of course holds true as my kids walk through so many new and scary steps of life; all along the way I pray that they see and know that their Dad is their most ardent cheerleader.  And when Coupon Clip-Her was in her early stages of roller derby life, struggling to make her 25 in 5 and master T-stops, coming home with frustration and disappointment on her face, I tried to be a little ray of sunshine to help build her up.

Well, by and large, my friends seem pretty well off, my kids are somewhat well-adjust (at least thus far), and my wife has clearly come a long way, proving many people wrong.

But me? Well, I just struggle to see ahead and grasp what I’m really capable of.  And it’s a weird collision of thought, as my mind is terribly and logically encouraging, reminding me of all that I’ve experienced and replaying those moments where I have overcome tough situations.

Yet, there’s this little part of me, this little seed of doubt that points out the fact that I’m not as young as I used to be.  It reminds me that I’ve never ever been able to skate and challenges me to question why I think now would be any different. And don’t even let me get started on my self-image, from looking like an uber-nerd in my pads to sadly acknowledging my doughboy abs. 

It’s a pretty damn convincing voice.

But, from somewhere deep within, and thankfully without as well, there’s another Voice that speaks out quietly and reminds me that there’s more to this life. It provides me security and peace and, for a brief moment, a step of confidence, pointing me in the right direction. And that Voice takes on flesh in the encouragement of my teammates, my trainers, and my family, even when I’m less than lovable. 

I’m not sure what they see and perhaps they’re just saying what they think is right; whatever it is, I want them to keep doing it.

Because, while I’m not one hundred convinced that it’s going to happen, I’m slowly getting to the point of being like that classic children’s tale, The Little Engine That Could.

And like that frantic little train, as he chugged and chugged, working his way slowly up the hill, I too am making my mantra out to be this simple maxim:

“I think I can. I think I can.”

Maybe soon, that'll turn to, "I know I can.  I know I can."

(Please continue to keep Rescue Project Rainbow in your thoughts and considerations for holiday giving this year; they need all the help they can get to help out needy families raising developmentally disabled children this year and it's my sincere wish to see the roller derby nation rise up and take a stand!  Won't you please help out?  Thanks for your support!)


  1. That book is one of our favorites in my household because it is the little engine that everyone had discounted that rose to the occasion and the others thought they were too good or too tired, etc. Mind over matter is what makes one good at anything. Sure, talent helps, but talent can only get you so far if you are not willing to actually try.

    I've been training new recruits for a long time (man, I feel old all of the sudden!) and no matter the age or gender, you can tell the ones who are going to be able to make it even if their skills such. It's their attitude that gives them away! Your wife was one of the most motivated recruits I ever saw. Yes, her learning curve was bigger than a lot of the others, but she stuck with it and stayed positive. And look at her now...I admire the derby player she has become and am secretly glad that I am too injured to take a hit from her (oops, secret is out!). Stalker said he was bad several months ago, but he stuck with it...and truth be told...he's gotten really good! Baby steps and believing you makes all the difference. You'll get there. It's not just us saying the right's us believing in you when you don't believe in yourself. And for the record, if I didn't think you could do it, I'd tell you. I have told people before.

  2. As always, thanks for the kind words. And I guess we need to switch up books in the house; we're more of a "Green Eggs and Ham" family...:)

    Seriously though, I do appreciate it. And I do forget that I've only really REALLY been at this for a few weeks. With that stunted start in October, I feel like I should be much further along but in reality, I've only been able to truly practice for a little bit. I am my own worst enemy.

    So I guess I have to beat, um, me?