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teaching the difference between “I CAN’T” vs “I HAVEN’T, YET”

I watched the 8yo walk by me with slumped shoulders.

I called her over and asked what was wrong.

“I can’t do this level on my game,” she answered with a healthy dose of discouragement in her sad voice.

“Forget about the game, you said the sentence wrong,” I quickly told her.

Her look made no mistakes of how crazy she thought I was.

I explained, there was a huge difference between saying “I CAN’T” and saying “I HAVEN’T YET“.

  • I CAN’T = things that are impossible to do no matter how hard you try. You can totally say “I CAN’T” when it comes to licking your own elbows or explaining Nickelback.
  • I HAVEN’T YET = the knowledge that there is nothing impossible if you will keep trying. It can take you longer than you anticipated but it is never beyond your power.


I could tell it didn’t quite sink in. She left feeling no no great surge of positivity. She was still totally irked that she was losing her video game and didn’t get that each loss would make the eventual win that much sweeter.

I will continue to tell her the difference.

Knowing that one day it will all come clear.

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