The Importance of "Yet"

by Helene Louise  

Over the past decade or so that I’ve been helping my daughter overcome the effects of a childhood stroke, she has often said to me, in face of many different challenges, “I can’t do it, Mama.” And each time, I have always added, “...yet, you can’t do it yet.” It’s a small word but it has had such an enormous impact on our lives. I believe that if we close our minds to the possibility of something happening, then it is much less likely that it will ever come to be. In part, because with a mindset that is negative, we are more likely to miss all of the little opportunities (“fireflies”...) that might otherwise have taken us towards our goal. 

I certainly haven’t been convinced every time that I have stubbornly added “yet” to the end of my daughter’s sentences, especially, since it has not at all been apparent how we could ever get around the obvious  physical effects of her stroke. But I realize now that I didn’t need to see exactly how things would resolve themselves. What I needed to do was stay open to the possibility of progress and keep working towards it. Maybe there are certain things that my daughter will always do differently from others. But, there are also many things that seemed impossible at the outset and which we were told she would never be able to do, which she now has mastered.

“Yet” is such a small word—just three little letters. But when added to the end of a sentence starting with “I can’t...”, it adds a touch of hope and an openness to the possibility of a different, more positive outcome. 

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