The worst four-letter word is of course…CAN’T. As in, I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. For some reason, Nick has started to say this a lot lately.

There are times when every four letter word is useful. The *F* one comes in handy when you drive your car into something, and I like to use the *S* one sometimes when I step in a pile of dog doo doo or a police car pulls up me behind when I am speeding.

The *C* word though – can’t – I’m not sure where it fits in. Yes, I could say that we CAN’T go to Toy’s R Us this afternoon, although saying that I don’t want to is probably more appropriate. Telling your son you can’t afford a new toy probably isn’t true either – you likely just don’t want to spend the money on that item.

When my son says he can’t do something, I try to respond with yes you can, I’ll help if you need it, or sure you can, let me teach you. I don’t like how often I hear the word can’t in today’s world. Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for motivational tapes and books, but I really believe that the words that we use to describe our situations and feelings have an effect on us. I wouldn’t say that I believe in “The Secret” (I’ve never seen it or read it), but I don’t see any reason to put negative thoughts out into the world.

Am I being pedantic? Or am I teaching my son a life lesson? If I explain why I don’t wan’t him to say he can’t do something, will he remember the lesson his entire life and achieve great things, or will he think of Dad as a stuffy old writer who was always correcting him?

I remember reading somewhere that instead of saying “I can’t do something”, you should say “How CAN I do this?”. That is a lesson that I would like my son to learn.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs