Of all my sons, my oldest has incredible amounts of belief in himself. He is a vivacious, happy go lucky, hard working, intense kind of guy. He was good in school, but he loved sports and working out much more. He was pretty good at the saxophone, but he preferred to play football. Even as a small boy, he believed in himself. He had oodles of self confidence. When confronted with something which made him nervous, he inevitably defaulted to a Yes I Can attitude.
His favorite story from the Darien ATA school where my sons trained was the story of Naci and Tnaci. One of the instructors at that time, Ms. Kelli (now Master Shoup), would tell the students the story of two brothers who trained in martial arts, but each one had different attitudes, and each one created a different future as a result. When their master instructor asked Naci to do 20 pushups, he said “Yes, I Can!” But his brother would sadly respond, “I Can’t.” Their master instructor would tell the class to go to set and stand tall like a leader, and Naci would say, “Yes, I Can!” whereas Tnaci would quietly mutter, “No, I Can’t.” Finally, one day, Naci was ready to receive his black belt, and their master instructor gladly awarded it to him. But Tnaci sat on the sidelines, unhappy, because he had always refused to have a Yes, I Can attitude. And so, he did not get his black belt. I believe this story made a huge impression on him as a young boy, and he exemplifies it with his life.
One of my deepest prayers for my children has always been that they grow up to become warriors of God. Well, he took this to a very literal, physical level by taking his martial arts training to the next level and fighting in Mixed Martial Arts. I don’t know too many moms who would really like to see their sons fight in octagons, but when I see him living his dream, and enjoying his life, I can’t help but be proud. In the case of Son #1, his Yes I Can attitude has carried him through his Bachelors in Athletic Training, and is now a driving force in his MMA pro fighting career. I see him take his positive attitude into his mental training through his visualization of his future success. I have watched him face circumstances which cause me to doubt and worry myself into a shaking mess of nerves, and yet he still exudes that indomitable Yes I Can attitude in all aspects of his existence. He does so physically through his training commitment, mentally through his inner game of repeatedly visualizing his future successes, and emotionally through his full passionate belief in his art.
Tell your children the story of Naci and Tnaci. It just might imbue then with the Yes I Can attitude of Belief. Because it sometimes only takes one person believing in someone to push them towards greatness.