Yes you canDear Kid,

“I can’t change that.”

We were discussing a Third Person and how the Third Person reacted to certain behaviors of the Second Person (you may assume that I am the First Person in this story). In a nutshell (or other teeny tiny container if you prefer), the Second Person was not really happy with the reactions of the Third Person. I suggested perhaps the Second Person recognize that his (or her) actions were the cause.

The Second Person did not want to even contemplate this possibility. After I gently suggested (and by “gently suggested” I mean “bashed over the head verbally”) that the Second Person was causing these behaviors, Second Person said, “Well, I can’t change that” in the most dismissive tone I’d heard in a long time.

Um, yes, you really can. You may choose not to, but that’s different. It would mean doing things differently, recognizing that not everything you’ve done in the past is perfect, and that – just perhaps – you are not the center of the universe.

That’s what I wanted to say. In an act of Surprising Restraint I said absolutely nothing. Had you been there, you might have noticed an eyelash twitch in a slightly unnatural way or a microscopic lift of an eyebrow indicating I thought Second Person was (how do I put this?) wrong. Fortunately for me, Second Person is not nearly adept at reading my facial expressions as you are and just plowed on through the conversation.

For the record, you are not related to either the Second or Third Person in this story.

Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.  ~Robert C. Gallagher

Some people say we can do anything we put our mind to. To those people I say, “Really? Anything? How are you at controlling the weather?” Then those people prove that one of the things they can do is karate and I end up in a little pile on the ground.

In fact, there are things we can’t do. I can’t reach stuff on high shelves without climbing on a chair or stepstool (and possibly falling off); my shortness of stature makes it a physical impossibility. I can’t be 18 again. (I was once, believe it or not). But the list of things we truly CAN’T do is pretty darn short (yeah, yeah, height joke, I get it). Generally, when we say “I can’t” we mean “I don’t want to” or “That would be hard” or “My mother would kill me!” (listen to that voice) or “I’d have to take the time to learn something new.”

He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.  ~Harold Wilson

In the Junior High Band Room there is a fabulous poster that starts with the word “CAN’T” in big letters at the top. Each row shows the letters morphing until the bottom row says “CAN TO”. I love that poster.

Change is not always better, but better always involves change. — Grandpa Hank

Change is not always better, but better always involves change (yes, it is worth repeating). It is not possible for things to get better and stay the same simultaneously.

Love, Mom

P. S.

In case you didn’t figure out the image, it’s a Yes, You Can. (I am hilarious.)