Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do!


An important lesson from LOST's John Locke: Don't tell me what I can't do!

If you were a fan of the show LOST (personally, I am working through the DVD set at this time), you will remember the season one catchphrase of my favorite character in the series, John Locke. Locke’s eyes would burn anytime someone questioned his abilities. An extremely headstrong and mysterious man, Locke would often explode in anger when people doubted him, screaming, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”

And so I sit here, marveling at the fact that my students are beginning to blog independently from home. Why does this inspire me after I’ve seen them type blogs at school?

Well, it’s all about the can-do factor. I think some people might look at their blogs – or their handwritten work – and scoff at the poor spelling of basic words. Indeed, some might even question why students who struggle so mightily to spell should even be *allowed* to blog at all.

Well, like I wrote last week, blogging is a confidence builder. And so I know that when one of my students who still struggles with letter recognition (and therefore spelling, and therefore reading and writing) is putting herself out there on her blog, it’s because she knows she can do it. Bless her heart, she won’t allow her shortcomings to deprive her of the pleasure of writing. Never mind the punctuation errors, either. Her writing is clear enough for all to appreciate, and she will get better.

A reminder that we need to allow our students the benefit of experience to grow and improve and do things on their own terms. Let’s focus on what they can do, and never tell them what they can’t.

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