life lessons from little engines

My two year old son is obsessed with planes. And trains… and helicopters… and diggers… and trucks.

Brimming with fascination for all things automotive, The Little Engine That Could is fast becoming a bedtime favorite of ours. Filled with colorful pictures of engines, dolls, and toys, it is more than enough to keep his hungry eyes occupied. He loves pointing out the airplane in a box car, the ducks dawdling along in the grass, the little boy, and the man in a cowboy hat, plaid shirt and vest he somehow refers to as “daddy.”

And of course he loves the “choo choo” trains. He loves the “puff puff puff, chug chug chug, ding dong ding dong…” and the book’s legendary refrain of “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

Other than ducks and bunnies and trains, I’m not sure that he’s gleaning any life lessons from the book. I, however, am.

It’s an old story, written in 1930. It’s one I’ve known since my childhood and whose anthem I have believed. And yet, it challenges me.

Why? Because normally I don’t step out of my comfort zone to the point where I am clenching my teeth and saying breathlessly to myself over and over  “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

Do you? I wonder how many of us do.

Mindset. That’s a book my husband is reading. His bedtime story book, if you will. Soon to be mine too, so he says. That’s alright, as long as he reads this. I meant, this.

Anyway, you’re mindset, I am learning from my husband, is what it all boils down to. Do we think we can, or don’t we? What makes people professional basketball players, chess champions, or marathon runners is their effort, not their talent.

It’s like Henry Ford said: “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re probably right.”

One thing I have never believed myself capable of doing is running 13.1 miles. I guess that’s why I made it a goal this year. Something to truly challenge me and all that I hold dear (you know, comfort, ease, sitting on the couch eating Oreos).

But what I am realizing thanks to bedtime books and my husband (and Henry Ford) is that it isn’t possible, unless I believe it is possible.

The good news is I am starting to believe it. I am nowhere near running 13 miles yet, but I am becoming more confident that the day will come.

Although as anyone knows, it isn’t just about believing, it’s about the effort. That’s the rub. Funny thing is, the more effort you put in the more you believe it is possible. Amazing! Perhaps that’s how God designed it. The more I run and the longer I run the more confident I become in my ability to finish a half marathon.

On that note, I am proud to report that the other day I crossed over into “serious runner” status, at least according to my husband. And no, it doesn’t mean I’ve won a race or have a set of racing flats. It means that I actually stopped my watch as I waited for the light to turn green in order to get an accurate time for my run. It’s the little things, people.

A 10k race is on the horizon the end of this month. After that, full fledged half marathon training begins. It is going to be insane. I think I am insane. I am going to have to get up super early and run for hours. Okay, well near the end it will be about two hours for one run!

I am actually looking forward to the challenge. And to the victory which I know will be mine. (Victory… as in finishing the race.)

Like the little blue engine that thought she could, I’m gonna huff and puff and… wait…I’m gonna softly say “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” as I chug off into the sunrise.

11 thoughts on “life lessons from little engines

  1. She's a Maineiac says:

    Great post. I am always asking myself, why not? I completely agree that it’s the effort that matters most. I never thought I could run even one mile and here I am up to three and it feels good. If you put in the training, a marathon is possible! Like anything in life. Good luck and you can do it!

  2. happykidshappymom says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s all about your mental attitude. And I love how you joined your own struggle together with the Little Train’s! We’ve enjoyed that book too. (Though, when my kids were just one or so, they each got sad with all the mean trains that came up first.) But it’s definitely a feast for the eyes, as you said. And a great lesson.

    I believe that you’ll meet your goal. “I think you can,” because you are so determined! 🙂 You can do it!

  3. Jill says:

    I know you can do it. I hope you don’t have to push a double baby jogger on your runs. But if you do, 13 miles will seem like when you actually run the thing.

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