I Think I Can, I Think I Can?

I Think I Can, I Think I Can? October 24, 2018

Today in Nancy Campbell’s blog Above Rubies she has an entire pile of awful posts denigrating women, ordering them to be submissive, have babies, the usual women hating nonsense. But there was this post too.  As with most of Nancy’s advice this is childish wishful thinking. Reducing actions down to “The Little Engine Who Could” because you just have to think, “I think I can, I think I can.” Yes, like that works so wildly well with the unsuccessful.

Simplistic explaination of a complex dynamic, check. Brainwashing via memorization, check. Check your brain, logic skills and thinking at the door, check. Perfection. A perfect meme for Quiverfull, never admit that your lack of education will stop you from becoming a doctor, or an engineer or anything else you could desire, name it, proclaim it and belief it will happen.

This is just the prosperity gospel repackaged in a different way. Nothing new. While is a good lesson to impart to children that you should try things, develop inner fortitude and resilience it should not be conflagrated into “think it, be it.”

I will give Campbell one thing. She manages to find ways to endlessly repackage old garbage, and that’s what this thinking is – garbage, into the shiny new packaging more palatable to those that follow her writings.

While a positive attitude is good, this is pure magical thinking. You might as well be rubbing a Magic 8 Ball.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jcoelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping ithe plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Saraquill

    I’ve been thinking a lot about about “think it, be it” in recent days. There is a massive lottery jackpot going on. By the logic of popular self-help dogma, just wanting to win should generate a lot of jackpot recipients. Hasn’t happened yet.

  • Anri

    -there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.

    H. L. Mencken

  • Iain Lovejoy

    There’s a lot to be said for a “You never know until you try” attitude, but that’s the opposite to this: it’s about being prepared to accept the risk failure, not pretending if you wish hard enough, failure is impossible. The “wish hard enough” attitude also almost guarantees failure since you concentrate on screwing up your eyes and straining yourself wishing, rather than, say, training, preparation and skill.

  • Tawreos

    What if her daughters or their daughters decide that they WILL be a CEO. What if they decide the WILL remain single and not have kids? She raised her kids with a long list of things that women can’t do and be a good christian but then wants to trot out a trite little saying so people will think that she is empowering them. The only WILL she would accept from any woman is to do as she commands with no thoughts of their own.

  • Sam D

    There’s a bumper sticker:

    I can do anything
    but not everything.
    Today I’m learning levitation.
    Tomorrow I’ll learn how to drive.

  • SAO

    This is so simplistic. There’s no discussion of how you get from the bottom of the hill to the top. If you have no education and want to be a doctor, you probably could achieve something. I’d suggest a job in the health field, even if it’s changing bedpans, night school, and persistence. Maybe you don’t end up as a doctor, maybe you end up as an EMT, nurse or a PA. Maybe it takes years to get to a job as an EMT. But if you don’t take a long, hard, realistic look at the obstacles you are facing and what it takes to overcome them, if you just wish upon a star, it won’t happen.

    I knew a car salesman who wanted to be an eye doctor. He talked to the dean of the local university’s optometry program and learned he didn’t have the math, science, or grades for the program. He asked for a recommendation of where to take the math and science classes, sweated over them, made sure he got As and, a few years later when he applied for admission, the dean was impressed by his persistence. He’s an optometrist, not an opthamologist, but he loves his job, works for the best eye center for the state, and has a leadership role there. It took him over 10 years to pay off his student loans, but he now has a great income and a good life.

  • Jen (*.*)

    I just heard someone asking why Christians need so many Christian plaques, signs and phrases everywhere. This is why. Simplistic thinking. The idea that a phrase or verse will solve the problem du jour. When it doesn’t, try it again because you’re doing it wrong.

    I was stuck in that mentality for over 30 years. When I finally tackled real world issues – oh boy! Life is tough and complicated and messy. The Nancy’s are handicapping people. It disgusts me to no end.

  • Mark in Ohio

    I can agree, I’ve been trying really hard to win the lottery for years now, and still nothing. I guess I’m not Lottery-ing hard enough.

  • Mark in Ohio

    Thanks! Another quote for my list of great quotes!

  • Saraquill

    Remember that self-help book, “The Secret?” Oprah promoted it and had to do some legal back pedaling as some people were inspired by her endorsement to “wish hard enough” rather than pursue cancer treatments.

  • AFo

    I was literally just thinking that this sounded like “The Secret.” Just think and wish and believe hard enough and God/the universe will give you whatever you want. It makes sense that Nancy would push something like this since it requires no action on the “believer’s” part, and she thinks women should be totally passive.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    Maybe you’re just not truly committed to becoming an instant billionaire. It would also increase your chances of winning a tiny fraction of a percent if you bought a ticket.

  • We taught our kids instead of saying “I can’t ” say “I haven’t done it yet ” and then start working to achieve the skills and knowledge to make it happen.

  • thatotherjean

    That “I think I can” reminds me all too much of Edgar A. Guest’s “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done.” First verse:

    “Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
    But, he with a chuckle replied
    That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
    Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
    So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
    On his face. If he worried he hid it.
    He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it.”

    I prefer the more realistic, anonymous version:

    “Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
    But he, with a grin, replied,
    He’d never be one to say that it couldn’t be done,
    Leastways, not ’till he tried.
    So he buckled right in, with a trace of a grin,
    By golly, he went right to it.
    He tackled the Thing That Couldn’t Be Done,
    And found that he couldn’t do it.”

  • frostysnowman

    I think it would be OK if they married a guy named Will.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    I could feel my hackles rising at the title (“I Think I Can”). I have some serious depression/anxiety issues and I can’t tell you how many times my “religious” friends and family have all insisted that all I need to do was to decide to BE Happy and my problems would go away. Once i was properly diagnosed and got onto the right meds, my father actually told me to “hide” this from my employers, because it would look unfavorable in my job history. I don’t bash my dad on this — he was a product of his age, when anyone who had a diagnosis of psychological disorders was looked at as dangerous to society. I think this attitude of all it took was for the person to DECIDE to be happy to resolve their problems was part of that mindset — a mindset still prevalent among the faithful (and Tom Cruise).

  • persephone

    It’s just another form of magical thinking. Of course, you can’t use the word magic around these idjits, cuz that’s Satan.

  • persephone

    Gosh, you mean my lupus and multiple other immune disorders would just disappear with the right mental outlook?


    Pushing myself physically when I shouldn’t have has contributed to the major breakdown in my body now.

  • Hannah

    Oh boy, I saw someone on YouTube say they wouldn’t buy some Harry Potter themed make up because of ‘evil’ words. (Those evil words being Latin, or names, or both.) JK Rowling is a Christian, but I doubt these kind people know that, they just see magic and mythology and assume evil.

  • TLC

    Thank you so much for this. I am so sick of people telling me if I just think positive, blank will happen. When people throw that in my face, I throw back this example:

    Line up 10 Olympic athletes in the same sport. Give them the same training program and the same positive thinking program. No matter what they do — or think — only ONE of them will win the gold medal.

  • Sunshine

    I was also thinking the same thing .A friend of mine believes whole heartedly in The Secret and talked me into reading it. While there’s definitely something to be said about having a positive attitude , stuff doesnt just fall into your lap just because you want it.

  • Samantha Vimes

    That’s excellent

  • bekabot

    The saying “most people are about as happy as they decide to be” is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, a man who was subject to episodes of wracking depression throughout his life and who never overcame them. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.