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CanDo

How about one last quote about strong women as we usher out Mother’s Day month? This one comes from Bette Midler. She said, “My idea of a superwoman is one who scrubs her own floors.”

Strong women come in all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities, professions and peculiarities. But they usually have one thing in common: a CAN-DO attitude.

There are a lot of people who will tell you what you can’t do. For most of us, our paths to the present have been littered with advice on what’s not possible. (I believe former US Vice President Spiro Agnew called them “Nattering nabobs of negativism.”)

I was fortunate to have been raised by two people who believed I could do anything I set my sights on. I credit my parents’ CAN-DO attitude for being a big part of who (and what) I am today. I’ve tried to employ this approach for myself, my children, my colleagues and employees.

It’s entirely possible that Bette literally meant women who scrub their own floors are the true superwomen. On that account, I almost agree.

I think she meant, “My idea of a superwoman is one who CAN scrub her own floor.”

You see, I haven’t scrubbed my own floors for a number of years now. However, I am fully capable. In fact, I hand-dried my hardwood floors for years. I just don’t like it. I think it’s important to differentiate between the ABILITY to do something and the CHOICE to do something.

We should all stretch our CAN-DO thinking so that we gain the ability. Then, we can make a choice if we want to continue to make use of that ability. It instills an inner sense of independence.

My mother, who is now getting a little older, recently got some help from my daughter scrubbing her floors. After scrubbing her own for her 54 years of marriage, my mother was thankful for the help, but frustrated that she needed the help.

It’s not that my Mom CAN’T do her own floors anymore – it’s that she shouldn’t have to.  Teaching a CAN-DO attitude doesn’t happen because you do everything for your children – it’s teaching them to take care of themselves.

Reluctantly there are some things I just can’t do – for instance, I cannot apply my CAN-DO attitude to empty a mouse trap. As a single mom, thank goodness I had a tom-boy for a daughter -– she CAN DO it. (But nobody says she has to want to.) 