How To Inspire Your Children To Do Hard Things

girls wall 1

I can’t.

How many times have you heard this as a mom?  It could be from eating their vegetables, to saying hello to a new person,  completing a chore, or schoolwork.

Can’t – the universal code for kids to display their lack of perseverance and effort.

A pivotal point in a parents conscience – to allow the child to believe this, or to re-train their thinking and spirit  – to do hard things.


My husband developed this little saying when our children were little, and his has stuck around for 21 years.

Can’t means won’t.

It is only seconds after the words, ” I can’t” escape a childs mouth here, and they are quickly to be reminded of this little saying.


We don’t hear those words often , or see too much in this area in our home because we have discovered this amazing foundation to Inspire our Children to not only do hard things, but to pursue excellence.

Inspire your children to do hard things:

~Encourage them to try new things on a regular basis

~Make hard things fun

~Bring a Character Quality into the conversation

~Remind them of the blessings – to themselves and others

~Remember that this is a training ground in a world full of hard things

~Prepare their hearts daily for the sacrifice of hard work, others-oriented living and perseverance

~Use the Bible and great people from History as examples to show your children the rewards of hard things

leah wall 3


What Do Hard Things Look Like:


(For the Younger Children)

*Tying shoes, zipping zippers, new chores, making new friends, speaking to adults with eye contact, sitting still in church or events, helping with responsibilities,  schoolwork, and more





 (For the Older Children)

*Learning a new skill set or accomplishing a chore

*Resolving conflicts with their friends and family

*Singing, speaking or presentations before a crowd

*School Assignments

*Exercise or Sports activities

*Speaking to adults


*Stand-alone on their convictions in a fallen world

nina wall 9

nina wall 8

nina wall 2







She was shaking.  “I can’t do this mom.”  Shaking and pale.  How can everyone else make it look so easy?

She turned to walk away from it all.  She was afraid of heights.  I understood this fear completely.

“You can do this, and I will be with you every second.  If you never try, you will always wonder.. wish… regret.”

Remember – This is about trust.  She moves slowly frozen, but begins to harness up for the climb.

She gets to the top and cannot move.  Many, many minutes pass before she will even look down at me.  I am quoting Scripture and calming her – telling her half the path is over.

She turns her back, steps off the ledge and makes her way to the victory of overcoming  – I can’t.





Can’t Means Won’t…


Bring your children’s hearts to a full understanding that they don’t have to do ALL things in their own strength.  Fear or lack of perseverance can be crippling to any one.  Even adults.

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”




Next in this series – Pursuing Excellence – What does that look like?




What are the “I can’t(s)” in your home lately?









You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    April 10, 2013 at 9:49 am

    My 4 year old son has already picked up the saying, “I can’t.” Philippians 4:13 is consistently recited in our home. I also work on teaching my kids to “suit up” with the full armor of God and make fun games of fighting off the negativity with the sword of the spirit.
    I look at these situations as a great way to continue building a solid foundation for our children in the word of God.
    I enjoyed the post. Very encouraging! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jess @ Life in the White House
    April 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Phil 4:13 is my personal verse and has gotten me through quite a few “won’ts”. Loved reading these words of encouragement for our children.

    That said, there are somethings I just can’t do…like Math 😀

  • Reply
    July 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    “I can’t means I won’t” is a saying I’ve used my kids as well. There are very few things that one can’t do, it’s a matter of if one is willing to try or not. That, for me, is the difference between “can’t” and “won’t” For the record, my kids don’t really like me telling them “I can’t actually means I won’t” it calls their bluff.

  • Leave a Reply

    Holler Box