Saturday, June 21, 2008

And Why Can't I?

Cliff Note:I am writing this post from a computer at the Wadsworth Library. I had this thought while driving to the library to return some books and thought it would be a good thought to blog on. I wanted to post it before the muse took it back.

Sometimes I think the four words that cause the largest percentage of emotional abuse are "you can't do that." Sometimes I wonder why those words are spoken. I speak as one who has had a lifelong affliction of insecurity.

I am not talking of a high school dropout wanting to perform brain surgery or anything like that. What I'm talking about are those who want to hold others back from achieving dreams. I wonder how much greatness has been stifled by those four words?

I have been encouraged by several who read my blogs. Most have been fellow bloggers, others just readers. A couple of these(and you know who you are) want to start blogging.

My Whattville blog has been a result of encouragement from David McMahon of authorblog fame. He posts a short poem every day and I try to comment with a rhyme. If he likes my comment, he will email me with a very encouraging comment. I'm sure he sends encouragement out to others every day too.

I was reminded of someone who was an encourager and a close friend of my wife's family this past week. Harv Kassebaum was one who found good in everything. His family was my wife's next door neighbors while she was growing up. He was also an English professor at Cuyahoga Community College. This past week, my blog was visited by Kathy from California. This was as a result of a Google search. She choose to read my post because of the name of my blog. She listened to WIXY/1260 when she was growing up in northeast Ohio. Kathy commented on an article I posted the day after I went to Harv's calling hours right before his memorial service. She used the comment section to tell how Harv encouraged her to write poetry. Harv was not one who would tell others "you cant do that." He always encouraged people to do their best then showed them how.

And Kathy, come back here whenever you please. And leave a comment as you have been a great encouragement to me and a blessing to my wife and her parents. And we are still trying to get hold of Margie.

11 comments:

struke said...

Cliff...this is an excellent post. As a high school teacher, I know it is so important to give kids the right message. Saying "You can't do that" without solid reasoning is a no-no. Admittedly, I will tell you that when my students do things that I see are destructive or unproductive like not being disrespectful of others, turning in late work or other bad work habits, I will tell them that "you can't do that" in the real world. I tell them to expect to get fired from their job or expect to get kicked out of college. Too often now, kids are being coddled and babied in school. And then when they go off to college and flunk out, we hear about how they weren't prepared. That drives me nuts.

There are other students I have had that were obviously less talented than others but worked their butts off. That work ethic paid off in the long run. That's why you never tell someone "you can't do that."

On another unrelated music note, while listening to "Elvira" on your jukebox...In fourth or fifth grade at Whittier Elementary school in Massillon, I had my first tuba solo in the song "Elvira" during a concert. At the time though, I was playing baritone reading bass clef music. Baritone is often seen as the precursor to playing tuba.

74WIXYgrad said...

Struke: I appreciate your comments. You have been one of my most stringent encouragers, and that goes back to our forum posting days.

There have been too many times when I have personally seen people shot down by those four words. Those words become a very low glass ceiling. Could very well be the difference between living in the projects, waiting on the third of every month, and being one who is able to help others because others have helped instead of hindered him.

struke said...

I heard those words many times myself in school. It ticked me off. Whenever I was told "you can't do that," I would ask "why?" and the usual response was "you just can't."

If you are told those four words at work and you want to move up, it's time to look elsewhere for a job.

struke said...

Cliff...I thank you for giving me a different perspective on life's lessons. You've helped me see things in myself and others that I don't see myself. I appreciate that.

74WIXYgrad said...

This is something I wrote in an email to David McMahon last night:
"You and other bloggers give me motivation to always do better. That's why I started my third blog for poetry, something you have given me motivation to do. I'm even kicking around tying some of my blog posts together for a book."

Here is his response:
"No worries at all, Cliff
That's what the blogging fraternity is best at .....
And good luck with your book. I wish you all the very best ..."

That sums it up quite well.

Kathy said...

This post makes me think about my son and his desire to play rock-n-roll. I remember asking him when he was in college what he really wanted to do, and that's what he told me. Of course as a mother I was thinking in my mind that would never happen, but that's exactly what he is doing now. Whether they ever make it big or not, I'm glad he got to at least try it out and that we didn't discourage him.

struke said...

Kathy, that's a great story. You know what? Your son might not be getting paid a lot to play rock 'n roll but he loves it. It's his passion. And to see your son happy has to be priceless.

Pat Jenkins said...

great post is right wixy!!!.. negativity has much too much sway on all of mankind's lives!!!... so don't listen... (easier said then done!!)

Daisy said...

Good advice! Just think how much more happiness there might be in the world if people were encouraged to follow their hearts and dreams rather than being discouraged from even taking a chance.

Liquid said...

And I giggle.

dons_mind said...

gotta admit our family was always preaching 'follow your dreams'. we were encourage to do/become what we wanted to be. i recall absolutely no pressure but lots of love and support - although i gotta tell ya my mom wasn't particularly excited when i voluntarily joined the navy back in the vietnam days..... :) :)

we tried to provide our girls that same type of philosophy - there's nothing you can't do - only things you don't want to do.......