A sweet friend of mine introduced me to Tiffany because she knew I’d like her family mantra. No surprise—she was right! Read this, and be prepared to want to do hard things!
Our family motto is “I can do hard things.”
I first heard it back in 2007. It was just a blip in an article I was reading, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. At the time, I had a 14-month-old baby that had miraculously come into our lives after years of waiting, my husband was knee deep in graduate school and had just found out that his job was being outsourced in a few weeks…and I had just be asked to lead our congregation’s youth organization (about 20 girls aged 12-18). So I started saying it to myself regularly.
Unemployment? “I can do hard things.”
The main sewer line burst and our yard in now a $2000 disaster zone? Deep breath. “I can do hard things.”
My husband is working 90 hour weeks on top of 600 level graduate night courses and I was up all night with the baby at the hospital because of an urinary infection? No problem. “I can do hard things.”
It became my go-to phrase, instead of my regular, ugly alternatives: I can’t do this anymore. I’m so stressed. I’m overwhelmed.
The funny thing is, it was true! I COULD do hard things. None of the hard things beat me. I not only managed to live through all of them, but I walked away from each incident as a stronger person. Even all these years later it still holds true.
Eventually, it became such a common phrase that my husband started saying it. Our family grew. It became an incredibly valuable motto while raising children. When the kids had a long way to go and were seconds away from a meltdown? I would gather them in my arms and whisper, “You can do hard things.” The tears began to dissipate. It was like magic. When my husband took them outside to help with chores, I could hear my daughter cry out, “I can’t do it!” and my husband’s reply, “Yes you can! You can do hard things!” And suddenly, she found that she COULD clean out the chicken coop after all.
Like most things, we were never quite sure how much the lesson was sinking in until we were returning home from a visit to Grammy & Pop-Pop’s house. We were stuck in holiday traffic and had now been in the car 7 hours, with an hour to go. My son had repeatedly dropped his milk cup in hard-to-reach places. I was driving and this time, the cup was way out of my husband’s ability to grasp from the passenger seat.
He said, “I’m sorry buddy. You’re just going to have to wait until we get home to have more milk. I just can’t reach that far.”
Perry, then age 2, replied, “Yes you can, Daddy. You can do hard things!”
My husband looked at me, smiled and just managed to reach the cup, to which my son patted his shoulder and said, “See? I told ya!”
They were getting it.
We never officially proclaimed “I can do hard things” as our family motto until a fantastic hike this past summer. On the drive home we decided that it was irrefutable. We can do hard things. It’s our motto and I think it will grace our lips regularly until the day we die.
Side note: Is the cuteness of Tiffany’s kids just killing you? Thanks so much for sharing, Tiffany!