A “Bad” Contraction that Changed a Class of Children

Dear Reader:

First of all….thank you for your well-wishes and shared second vaccine stories…it made me feel like “one of the pack.” Dr. Fauci even admitted he had chills with his second vaccine. He said that the more the reaction…the more  one’s antibody system was right on target. So I am downright proud of my compromised antibodies…they came through for me! 🙂

Since I have been closed up in the house I’ve been watching more television than usual and one celebrity’s story really touched me the other day. I wish I could tell you this model’s name but I am afraid I am out of the loop with new talents abounding…

Her story dealt around one single word that changed her life and for one spring day’s lesson at school…the rest of her third grade class.

Her teacher had written out several contraction examples and then called on different students to write the correct contraction under the sentence.

This (now) model said the teacher had written “can not” in a sentence and she was supposed to write the contraction beside it. She kept pausing so long that the teacher asked her if she needed help. Meanwhile the other students were whispering…”Boy..that one is so easy…how can you miss that?”

Again…the teacher asked if something was wrong…and the little girl replied “That is a BAD word…my mama says and I am not supposed to say it.” 

Puzzled the teacher asked if she could write the contraction and hesitantly the girl did….but she wouldn’t say the contraction out loud. “It’s a bad word” she repeated…her face blushing.

By now the whole class was giggling and laughing….“A BAD word…now if you want to hear bad words…you should come listen to my daddy” one little boy said proudly. Everyone was cracking up now.

The teacher quieted the class and then asked the little girl why her mother thought “can’t” was a bad word. Without hesitating the girl said “Because CAN’T is the destroyer of dreams.”

One of those rare moments in teaching had just presented itself and the teacher jumped right on it. She told each student to get out a piece of paper…and write….

When I grow up I dream about becoming a ______.”

The children did and excitedly told the class what they wanted to be and why.

Now the teacher asked them to write the sentence again…but with one difference….

“When I grow up I CAN’T dream about becoming _____ because________.”

This time the dreams had been dashed…and the kids talked about not enough money or their family moved too much or they had to help other siblings too…etc. The mood in the class grew somber.

Now they understood why “Can’t” was a “bad” word…it truly did stand between you and your dreams…but only if you let it.

The last line the children wrote that day was …

“When I grow up…I can dream about _____________.”

Lesson: Never let the “bad” word Can’t stop anyone from fulfilling their dreams. You CAN!

A lesson that was never lost on one third grade class.


Obviously this ninety-year old grandmother was taught “can’t” was a “bad” word too…after waiting and waiting to get her Covid vaccine…Seattle got rare snow the day of her appointment. So she bundled up and walked six miles round trip to get her shot. She wasn’t letting anything stand in her way ….this was not a  “can’t” kind of woman.

News Report: USA

A rare winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on Seattle couldn’t keep a 90-year-old woman from her first appointment for the coronavirus vaccine.

The Seattle Times reports that Fran Goldman walked six miles round trip to get her shot.

“I have been calling to get an appointment anywhere, every morning, every afternoon and often I’ve been online at night,” Goldman said.

She finally secured a slot for Sunday morning, but Friday and Saturday a strong winter storm moved through the region, turning the city’s normally rainy streets into a winter scene of snowdrifts.

Goldman dressed in fleece pants and a short-sleeved shirt so that the nurse could get to her arm easily. Over that, she layered a fleece zip-up, then a down coat, then a rain jacket.

She then put on snow boots, took out her walking sticks and ventured onto the snowy streets.

“It was not easy going, it was challenging,” she told the newspaper.

But Goldman made it to her appointment, just 5 minutes late.


So until tomorrow…Let’s all try to keep “can’t’s” out of our lives…because if we set our minds to it…we can. We can…brings dreams into reality…We can’t destroys them.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

A funny lesson for Mandy and me yesterday…Mandy called to tell me she was so aggravated that Jake was having nothing to do with dressing up to look “100” for their 100th day of school…and she told him he was going to feel foolish when he was the only one not participating.

Instead he comes home with a huge grin spreading from ear to ear…he had won the biggest award that day- working the longest and only student to finally  solve the Dreambox math problem.

He never gave up!



And speaking of never giving up…just as darkness was descending yesterday the light of hope shone….tomorrow the sun will come out…finally…we can climb off the ark for a few days and stretch our legs. Hallelujah!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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6 Responses to A “Bad” Contraction that Changed a Class of Children

  1. honey burrell says:

    Enjoyed today’s blog! It reminded me of the same word , not allowed in our home. Momma would say, “can’t never could!”
    So happy you got your second vaccine. We were scheduled for last Thursday, but was canceled due to weather. We were definitely disappointed, but hopefully we’ll be rescheduled this coming week. Weather delays can be challenging!
    Have a beautiful day. It’s 19 this morning and sunny!
    Jake is adorable!Mark my words, “Jake is going places in this life!” I love his independent spirit!
    Love you lots😘❤️


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I think Mandy is ready to bundle him up and will gladly send him express to your home! 🙂
      How does a kindergarten’er get “too cool for school”….Mandy told me to pray they survive Mr. Independent Jake’s childhood! It will not be a dull ride. 🙂
      Love your mom’s expression…just perfect!! Praying you get your first vaccine this week…know you are ready to finish this check-off important task! Fingers crossed…keep me updated!


  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    Loved the entry today…I always told our 2 sons that they could be anything they wanted to be if they just worked hard. There is a funny story involving Blake that I will share with you later when he played football or was on the team…but I always put that thought and that we would love them forever in their minds everyday…still do!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Those adorable twins grew up in a much loved home…and continue to be loved within their new families….just what every mother and daddy want to see.


  3. Pam Stewart says:

    WOW!! As a retired elementary school teacher I am blown away by that story. What quick thinking by the teacher to turn a grammar lesson into a life lesson. And she still got them to write, too!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I know…I thought the same thing Pam…teaching at its best…making learning spontaneous…the best way…and so sad today that creativity has taken a ‘hit’ from assessments to the point it is hard to work it in to a day….yet from what I see from my grandchildren…creativity can’t be squashed out either…the teacher just has to be even more creative to work it in. My hat’s off to amazing teachers everywhere!


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