“Can’t” is not a Word in our Vocabulary

December 22, 2008

I’m thinking of resurrecting the title phrase.  Did anyone ever say this to you when you were a child?  My little niece told me a few times this weekend that she “can’t do it”.  Without even trying.  This was while we were out tobogganing in sub-arctic weather.  (Which may have been a factor, but stick with me here).  This little girl is only three, and in the future she will hear many times that she “can’t” do something.  She “can’t” be an engineer, she can’t ski jump, she can’t do this or do that.  Only a short time ago her options would have been teacher, nurse, or wife.  Because women before her took “can’t” out of their vocabulary women can now choose to be one of those three things, or a doctor, engineer, chef, anything!  When she couldn’t get up we practiced bringing one knee up, two hands on the knee and PUSH! She got up.  When she couldn’t walk up the hill we crawled.  We got up!  My brother is also really good at making her try things before giving up.  However when her mittens came off, and her hands got red instantly, we went home.  We’re empowered females, but we’re also smart enough to know when to call it quits.  We lasted three runs down the hill, Whee!! 

One Christmas present down, a few to go.  This is the cabled beret   (Ravelry link) from the new Debbie Bliss magazine, in Patons soy/wool left over from mitten frenzy:


With the big needles, 5 mm, you can make a lovely thick tam, and the simple pattern can handle a bit of colour change.  I like that you can wear it as a tam, or pull it down over your ears to keep warm.  A la tete:


And as always, now I want one for myself!  I think I have the perfect yarn already…  I’m also planning on running a simple line of crochet around the opening just to hold it together a bit more.  I probably should have used a stiffer cast-on.  I hope the recipient likes it!


11 Responses to ““Can’t” is not a Word in our Vocabulary”

  1. Monica said

    I agree. Completely. Nothing gets to me more than when my daughter says “I can’t do it.” when she hasn’t even tried. I’m mean, and make her try, and sure enough “I can do it, Mom!”.

    Beautiful beret!

  2. Katherine said

    My son has recently started to claim he “can’t” do things like put on his pajamas by himself, clean up his TinkerToys, or even go to the bathroom by himself. I am about to go insane.

    I forgot that way of phrasing my objections. Mostly I’ve heard myself say “I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t do something again.” Once I teach him the word “vocabulary” maybe he’ll listen to a different way of expressing it.

  3. margene said

    All your niece needs to do is to look at her aunt for inspiration. The hat looks warm and squooshy. Of course you need one!

  4. Anne said

    Love the hat! It looks nice and warm, AND covers the ears from nippy winter weather!

  5. Jewel said

    I always told my kids that they could do and be anything that they wanted to be. I hated that in middle school they would tell the kids that they needed to decided what they wanted to do for the rest of there lives. I always told them that they would figure it out when they found that thing that they loved to do. I have a fireman, eye doctor, two teachers and a daughter that is a collage professor.

  6. Dad said

    Remember the little train that thought he could ? A good example to children to overcome their fears a self doubts.

  7. Elaine said

    I chair the Women’s Council for the international computer science professional society (and currently work as a researcher in an industrial research lab and was formerly a computer science professor at a major research university). One of the biggest problems we have in the field, and the reason we need a women’s council, is that girls and young women are still told they can’t or they shouldn’t or that they don’t belong. It is very discouraging.

    I believe that the best way for girls to see that they do belong and can do it is to have role models and mentors. Someone who looks like them who is a success. And you (and likely others in your family) fulfill exactly that role for your niece. Lucky girl who will hopefully grow up with the attitude that she CAN do it.

  8. Mom said

    I always said that “it’s not that you can’t but that you won’t” but a 3 year old won’t understand this. We raised you (especially)& your brother to be anything you wanted & look where it got you. Love, Mom

  9. Heather said

    Lucky niece to have you as an example of “Oh, yes, I can!”

    Love the hat! Susan is having an attack of berets, I wonder if she’s made that pattern? Anyway, you do indeed need one.

  10. blogless in NJ said

    Teaching kids (and especially girls) that they can achieve and that they are able, is critically important. I’m sure that you see professionally how few women there are, and part of the reason is that the girls are scared off early by being told by word or deed that they “can’t” or worse yet, “shouldn’t”

    Happy holidays.

    And thanks again for a really fun prize package.

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