Select Page

My daughter’s cursive assignment for today is to copy the following quote two times:
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” –John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach
After copying the quote, she has to write—in her best cursive, of course—what this means to her. As I was explaining the assignment to her last Friday during ‘Mommy time’ I asked her to explain in words, what she will write.
“Oh, I know!” She didn’t miss a beat. “It’s like—you know—I can keep trying to [water] ski because I can get up and I can balance, and—you know—someday I will ski!” Her entire face beamed with new inspiration.
Despite her still-in-formation English, two truths came through passionately clear:
1)   Sister is desperate to catch up to her brothers in the feat of water-skiing and…
2)   Sister is a deeply positive person.
She didn’t struggle to find a personal example—an incredibly concrete example, I might add–or falter to express her future overcoming with confidence. She didn’t add any addendums often heard in the wake of repeated failed attempts. There were no: “but” or “I can’t” or “it’s too hard.”
In a strange coincidence, I heard a similar idea while watching Cardinals baseball just a few nights earlier.  It was the 5th inning and the Cardinals were trailing 0-1 against the Brewers. They couldn’t gain momentum at the plate and the Brewer’s one-run lead hung in the air like the smell of a wet dog. I was really only half listening, mostly enjoying the comforting sounds of Cardinals baseball as background noise while I organized the pieces of our family’s next puzzle project. Then one of the announcers said something that caught my attention. During one of his in-between-pitch-ramblings he started discussing positive thinking. He said that in the game of baseball (especially with pitching) there are so many aspects of a player’s game that the player can continually scrutinize and focus on improving. Oftentimes, however, rather than give constant attention to what he needs to fix, a player does better to focus on what he does well, capitalize on his strengths, and eventually his weaknesses will diminish.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” .” –John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach
A simple direction, open and available–not just to athletes or little girls with motivational cursive assignments—but to each of us in every way. I must need help believing it’s true because—wonder of wonders—in my quiet morning hours, I found it again:
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…and the God of peace will be with you.”
–Philippians 4:8-9
I think, just maybe, I’ve been given a good word. With thanksgiving, I pass it on to you.
Happy Monday! J