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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1188033-Forbidden-Words
by Kenzie
Rated: E · Article · Inspirational · #1188033
When I was growing up, “I can’t” was a phrase never allowed in our house.
Forbidden Words
by Marilyn Mackenzie


When I was growing up, “I can’t” was a phrase never allowed in our house.

We sang a song in our house growing up. I was the oldest child, and my brother was born when I was four. Mom was smart enough to know that I might be jealous of little brother.

Mom and I sat in front of the television every afternoon when my baby brother was sleeping. We watched “Charming Children” together each day. That was a local PBS show for preschoolers and parents. There were no preschools or daycare centers back then. This show was created to help Moms teach their kids things that they should know before going to kindergarten – cutting, pasting, drawing, printing.

I believe the song that we sang also originated from that show. The only words that I remember – the words we sang every time the words “I can’t” were uttered in our household and the words I also sang to my own son – were, “I’ll never, ever say I can’t; I’ll always say, I’ll try.”

For fifty years now, those words have been bouncing around in my head every time I hear someone say, “I can’t.” I guess it’s no wonder that I get disgusted with people who say those words over and over again. Or at people who give up before they even start trying.

Perhaps that simple song was also instrumental in my thought processes. When a daunting task appeared before me, my mind always started whirling and swirling, thinking of the possibilities, rather than the impossibilities. Failing itself was not a bad thing, but failing to try was just not an option.

As a child, I did have those things I would not try. I just didn’t talk about them. I was a rather shy child, so social situations were frightening to me. But anything having to do with brain power was never frightening. If I could read about it, I could attempt it. It was just that simple.

As an adult, I got over the fear of people and interacting with them. Moving away from friends and family was the beginning of that process. Once I settled in a city where no one knew me, I was free to reinvent myself. While I had been known back home as a shy person, in my new location I was able to experiment with being more assertive and social.

Having been an avid reader from my earliest years, I was able to use what I had learned in books to my advantage. Eventually, I even learned to speak in front of crowds of hundreds without fear.

Throughout the process of becoming less socially fearful, two phrases reverberated through my mind. One was the song that I had learned as a child, saying that I would always try. The other was my favorite Bible verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV.

Today, I get particularly perturbed when people around me say something cannot be done or that they cannot do something, without even having weighed all the options.

“There’s a mountain before me. Boo-hoo, what will I do?”

“How about tunneling through it? How about going around it?”

“I can’t swim.”

“Find something floating and hang on.”

“This publication says I have to be a published author before I can submit anything, but I know my story is the kind they buy.”

“Okay, so find a publication that will print something of yours, even if it means giving it to them or getting only $5 or $10. At least that will show that you’ve been published somewhere.”

“My doctor says there’s no such thing as fibromyalgia.”

“Find another doctor! And then print out everything you can find about fibromyalgia and send it to that doctor.”


Maybe I’m just stubborn. But I like to think that those phrases, “I’ll try,” and, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” are the reasons that I just cannot give up immediately on a situation. To me, there must be some way over, around or through that mountain lying ahead.
© Copyright 2006 Kenzie (kenzie at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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