I think I can

Last year I was sitting with a small group of men at a table after a memorial service. Among the group was former Chester High School basketball coach, Juan Baughn. During the conversation he recited the children’s bedtime story, “The Little Engine That Could.” This opened up some interesting perspectives. Mr. Baughn’s question to someone at the table was this: “What is the moral of the story?” The basic commentary which followed was the repeated quotes – “I think I can, I think I can;” and the following, “I thought I could, I thought I could.” In other words, “belief” in yourself.

Mr. Baughn’s thoughts seem to run in different directions similar to mine although I did not come to this particular idea until after he spoke on it. But I will get back to this subject in a moment.

Several months ago we had Cecelia Sensei from The Defensive Arts Center down to teach and drum up the students in preparation for Winter camp. One of my female students was in attendance but was not planning to train because she was not feeling well. She intended to just watch and hopefully learn from the observation.

I suggested that she step on the mat anyway, and after a good hug from me and a change to her gi, she did. At the end of an absolutely great class she told me she was feeling great, and (1) thanked me for inviting Cecelia Sensei, (2) thanked me for the advice, (3) suggested I write a blog on said advice.

This student was not sure if it was the hug, the advice or the training that made the difference. But back to the bedtime story moral.

The power of positive thinking! Belief in yourself! Faith! These are all absolutely necessary for growth to take place. What Mr. Baughn and I both agree on is the missing ingredient and it is hidden in plan sight. It is right in that bedside story. Juan Baughn’s focus was on the clown and the fact that he kept on asking for assistance until he found someone willing to help.


While most of us focused on the little engine, consider this, “that clown never stopped looking for the solution.” He never gave up!


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