Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Can't!.......

My Family, Circa 1954.  I Was 10 Years Old.  L-R...Brother David, Dad, Mom and Me
I was between the ages of five and twenty-five, and I had a problem.

I had zero self confidence.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Zero.

.Me, About Six Years Old.  Handsome, No?
A big part of the problem was the relationship I had with my dad, who was a "chop-chop", impatient, no-nonsense kind of guy.  Man, I just couldn't do the things he thought I should be able to do easily.

What this does to a child, of course, is create a sense of defeat before he/she even starts to try to do something.  My favorite expression for years was "I can't".

My negative attitude enraged my mother, who did all she could to get me to think positively.  My dad would become so frustrated with my struggles that on more than one occasion he would yell at me, "You're stupid".  I believed him.

Oh my God---then came the teenage years.  I guess I'm glad I lived through them, but the good Lord knows I would never do it again.  Not only was I completely devoid of any confidence, but I had hormones coursing through my body and I wanted girls to like me and I wanted to be popular and I wanted to make good grades.....

Circa 1960.  L-R...Brother David, Dad, Grandmother May, Me (Age 16)
But, alas and alack---all of those things came slowly, so slowly.

When I was six years old my parents sent me to swimming lessons.  I remember I quickly learned to swim a short distance.  But, no  matter how hard the instructors tried, they could not persuade me to try swimming in the deep end of the pool.  I had a mental block.  All the other kids could do it, but no matter how much encouragement everyone gave me, little Clint couldn't make himself succeed.

Then, there was arithmetic/algebra/geometry/chemistry/physics/you name it.  In school, if it was technical, I said I couldn't do it before the first class.  Oh, and my struggles with girls in school.  Oh, how I wanted the girls to pay some attention to me.  But I was too shy to even ask a girl for a date.  I saw myself as a failure.

My friends, this business of attitude is either tremendously empowering or disastrously defeating.

Thank God, as time went on, and a few successes occurred in my life here and there, my self-image improved steadily.  Finally, I was able to begin to achieve!  What a liberating feeling!  Success breeds success----and success begins to elevate confidence.  And confidence leads to a circle of wondrous victories in life.

Back in those dark days of failure, my mom used to have an expression:  "Can't never could".


  1. You are right- attitude determines everything. It's a wondrous thing when our attitudes change and that in turn changes our whole lives. Your mom is a very wise woman! Loved seeing the family pics~

  2. You've sure come a long way, baby! Top salesman in the world of kidney machines (dialyzers), teaching Sunday school classes, class leader of a large Sunday school class, spelling bee champion, performer (you should experience his God and American History), singer and newspaper guest columnist ... to name a few.

    Oh, and marrying me! he he

  3. You are so right! Attitude and faith changes everything. I had to smile at your example of swimming. I was so scared of the deep end of the pool, the instructor had to toss me off the diving board. I started swimming because I had to. The whole length of the pool I'd turn my head up to breath and yell, "Mommy!" Then I got to the end of the pool (shallow end). And everyone stood up and clapped for me. Hahaha. Always learn the hard way : ) Of all the sports, the only one I could do well at was swimming. Thanks for this post.

  4. been there and have climbed out of that dark ditch ...sometimes I feel the ditch trying to reclaim me but I just move further by confessing God's Word over and over ..knowing that God doesn't create "stupid"..."stupid is a choice" ...and I agree with your beautiful other half....she was one of those that was evidence you are NO LOSER!

  5. One of the things I tell people is you need to have a "song in your head" about who you are. Music has wonderous powers to heal and soothe the spirit. Since having to change jobs recently and needing to pick myself up I've adoped the song that say "girl you're amazing....just the way you are!" It's become my mantra and now I am flying high again with a new job and sense of accomplishment because I am "amazing" just the way God made me. So are you, Clint. Show us that "amazing" smile....:)

  6. thanks for sharing, clint. wow. wish young clint would have had an easier time of it. :)

  7. You're gone your way, you found to yourself and last of all you found the love of your life.


  8. Nice pictures! It's nice to be reading your posts again. You are such a great communicator. Thanks for sharing this snapshot of your life!

  9. The only thing I had confidence as a child was my music, I could play the piano and passsed many exams. School was bearable except for one subject I really hated.......poetry.

    It took two berevements and becoming a grandmother to put pen to paper and put my thoughts down, most theraputic. How strange how life changes.

  10. The odd things is when you look at pictures, you only see the illusion of happiness in the moment of smiling faces. One can't see what lurks beneath that smile.
    So glad you survived and overcame.

  11. Clint,
    With your wit and humor, I would never have guessed you struggled in your youth.

    Maybe "can't never could", but "will always would" - and I'm glad you found your will and your way. :) Happy 2012!

  12. Wow, how far you've come Clint and good for you! It takes courage to poke your head out of the shell, but once you do there's no turning back ... is there? I haven't turned back and I used to have my head stuck in a shell, once you see, really see, the world who wants to revert?

    BTW I think that you were an adorable child, I love that first photo of you by yourself.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

  13. Gosh I like your honesty - I think a lot of us had rather rough years and it's good to know we can survive and grow up out of it. I think it makes us bitter or better - you made it better. sandie

  14. Clint,
    Thank you for being so candid.We have problems as we grow, I made the decision, if my childhood was bad, I was not going to allow it to rob me of the rest of my life. I wish all people had that attitude.

  15. Maybe it was the year you and I were born in?? because I had the same insecurities. It was a battle for years to believe in myself..But you got there Clint and look at you today, you are successful,clever. kind, a God fearing man AND you have Cindy. What else could you want?

  16. Goodness, you certainly didn't have good time back then. As a child if you are told you are negative then it's believed, until you get old enough to wake up and your confidence then begins to grow. You apparently came through the bad parts with flying colours.
    I had fairly positive parents so I can only imagine what you went through.

  17. Awww. Aren't you glad things change and nothing stays the same. I was incredibly shy and that wiped out any chance of doing confidence building things like dance and sports. My parents didn't encourage much either.

  18. My grandmother told me there might be things I couldn't do but there was nothing I couldn't learn to do.

  19. Happy new year, Clint. Sending your way blessings of peace, hope, joy, and strength for 2012. I appreciate this post - many parents have no idea what their children are going through. I am glad that you eventually outgrew your lack of confidence.

    I have been trying to leave a comment at Cindy's latest post - with all those lovely pictures from your recent trip, including the cardinal, and the pictures from long ago. Such lovely pictures...

    But sadly, her blog won't let me post comments. Hope she gets to read this.

    Blessings to you both...