Encouragement for Today - May 19, 2005


May 19

Encouragement for Today


“You’re a Can Do Kid” – Part 1

Renee Swope, Director of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, Speaker and Author


Key Verse:


Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (NIV)




“I can’t!” Andrew shouted with tears streaming down his cheeks. I looked down and saw an Etch A Sketch® next to him on the floor. Joshua, his older brother, was trying to teach him how to use it. Andrew had barely attempted to turn the white knobs when he gave up.


“I can’t!” had been Andrew’s response to every obstacle he faced that week. “I can’t,” he cried, as I encouraged him to put his head under water at the pool.   “I can’t,” he muttered, when I asked him to tell me the first letter in the word airplane.  “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t!”


“I can’t take it anymore!” I thought to myself, as I watched him sit in defeat. Then it dawned on me. Andrew had grown frustrated with himself while trying activities that his big brother could do very well. Andrew was stuck in the mud of “I can’t,” and trapped by the mire of comparison.


I empathized with Andrew’s discouragement. How many times have I wanted to sit on the sidelines and watch others rather than try something difficult?  Wondering what I should do, I remembered a magazine article I’d read that week about helping children become “can do kids.”


“Andrew,” I said, “Mommy has decided to give you a new name. From this moment foward you are going to be my ‘CAN DO KID’.  In fact, we are going to have a new rule. You are no longer allowed to say “I can’t” because, Andrew, there are so many things you can do. Mommy is going to help you and I will even do them with you."


It was time for dinner so I told Andrew we were going to set the table together. I handed him the forks and showed him where each one went. I gave him one plate and cup at a time and watched him complete each setting. He was so proud of himself. Once he finished, Andrew looked at me and said, “Mommy, I can do it!”


So many children never grow to their fullest potential. What often holds them back is a lack of confidence and courage. Just like Andrew, many kids measure their abilities based on how well they can do something compared to someone else. And there will always be a friend or sibling who can do it just a little better. 


That day taught me an important lesson - My children need me to believe in them and to demonstrate it through my words and actions. Here are some steps I took: I drew Andrew’s attention away from something he couldn’t do and toward something he could do. I showed him how to do it, and then I did it with him. Once he gained his confidence, I stepped back and watched as he completed his assignment with success. We celebrated the reality of his new name and talked about how good it felt to do new things. I introduced him with his new name to his Dad and brother at dinner and the whole family started calling Andrew our “can do” kid.


Just this evening (three years later) Joshua offered to help Andrew feed the dogs. Andrew thanked him and then said, “I don’t need any help because I’m a can do kid!”


My Prayer for Today:


Lord, help me see beyond who my child is to who he came become. Show me if there are areas in his life where he is comparing himself to others and needs me to remind him of his personal strengths. Help me to see my kids the way you do. Help me to be a Mom who finds the treasures you have buried in my child’s heart!


Application Steps:


Think of one of your children (or someone else you know) who need you to believe in them.

Show them your confidence by trusting them with an assignment or special task.

Communicate encouragement through your words in a letter, phone call, card or email.


Reflection Points:


Next time your child gets fearful, instead of being critical, look for ways to be creative. Read chapter six in the book of Judges and notice how God used words of encouragement to help one of His children. Make a list of the promises God gave to Gideon and offer those same promises to your child. 


Power Verses:


2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (NLT)


Isaiah 43:1b, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (NKJV)


1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” (NIV)



Additional Resources:


Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Character Chart by Renee Swope



Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Seminar Tape by Renee Swope



Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes



Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Ministries


Originally published Thursday, 19 May 2005.