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Old 06-29-2009, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i overheard a woman saying to a preschool aged child "there is no try; you do or you don't do."

i'm just curious what others think of this statement. while i can see it applying in certain circumstances (ie. an obediance situation where the child says they are "trying" to follow the rule but they "forgot"), i'm not sure about the statement as a life philosophy sort of thing. to me it seems rather discouraging; if i can't do it then i might as well not do it since trying doesn't matter.

i'm just interested in what others think when they hear this statement.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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Is the child a Star Wars fan? Sounds like the mom was just saying what Yoda said to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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Is the child a Star Wars fan? Sounds like the mom was just saying what Yoda said to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.
:
We all say it once in a while. We also throw out quotes from Star Trek and Pride and Prejudice on a daily basis. :

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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Is the child a Star Wars fan? Sounds like the mom was just saying what Yoda said to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.
I was just going to ask that

I say that quote to my husband all the time. He hates it

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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I had to add, DP actually does Yoda voice when he says that particular phrase.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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"Do, or do not. There is no try." I think it's funny. Although I kind of hope the preschooler didn't watch Empire Strikes Back him or herself.

The whole point of the quote is that often we mentally block ourselves thinking that we can't do things, when really we could if we'd stop dithering about it. It's very much about staying in touch with one's power as an individual. Not something most preschoolers need to hear! I'm guessing she was kind of making a joke out of it (at least to herself).

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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All I hear is Yoda..."Do or do not, there is no try"... DH is a Star Wars geek.

Anyway, I find it to be an empowering statement - do it all the way or don't do it at all. When I was training for my first 5k (which I ran the day before my + pg test with DD2 - LOL), that helped get me through long runs, dorky as that sounds.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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ITA with the Star Wars geek diagnosis, but also with the feeling that it's not actually a useful thing to tell a little kid. Sometimes the way we go from not doing to doing is to try and fail a whole lot.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:53 AM
 
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I have never seen Star Wars (I know, I know...) but I have said something simialr to my seven year old. I agree that if I were to really think it through, it probably isn't the best encouragement of trying to do new things...but when I have said it I have been really frustrated with him and/or his behavior.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:53 AM
 
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Personally I don't see what good can come from a statement like that. If you can either do it or not do, instead of try to do it and accept failure as a possible outcome then what is the use of doing something you don't know if you can do?

I didn't just sit down at the piano one day and start playing. I tried and failed many times. What kept me at it was knowing that the more I try, even if I fail, the better I will get and eventually I will be able to do it.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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ITA with the Star Wars geek diagnosis, but also with the feeling that it's not actually a useful thing to tell a little kid. Sometimes the way we go from not doing to doing is to try and fail a whole lot.
Oh true.

I came back to this thread because I'm still laughing.

My second round of thought is basically that we don't have to turn everything we say to our preschoolers into a life philosophy.

I do quote to my son inappropriately (or over-appropriately!) sometimes. Example: he is locked in a battle of wills with me. My husband enters and everything is suddenly roses. "Now is the winter of our discontent // Made glorious summer by this son of York."

ETA: I'm laughing more. Maybe you have to have been a Star Wars geek to get it - but Yoda is definitely not anti-trying. He's actually anti-WHINING.

The whole thing is that Luke is whining that Yoda wants him to do something IMPOSSIBLE, boo hoo (Luke is prone to whining) and also something that he thinks is beyond his potential. Yoda's point is that it's not impossible. Actually the more I'm analysing this the more I think maybe it is appropriate for a preschooler.

Then, or a bit later (I forget the sequence) Yoda does the "impossible" and Luke says "I don't believe it" and then Yoda says "That is why you fail."

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Old 06-29-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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My mother tried saying this to me recently, but she wasn't quoting Star Wars. She learned it in this self help thing called LandMark. It infuriated me, because it was about changing my attiude, and she used a story of the lady said something about trying and the woman on the stage said "try" to take a tissue from this tissue box. The woman did. The lady on stage told her no, "try." Obviously in this circumstance you either do or don't, and when I tried explaning to my mother that some circumstances are do or don't, there are also others like changing attitude that will take removing the old habit and replacing it with new, thus trying, since habits are inbedded in us till repeatedly broken. My mother didn't like my response and continued with do or don't. You should find out if the teacher has taken LandMark classes, because my mother is always thinking it's okay to pull LandMark stuff on my children to 'start them in the right direction early.'
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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It might be said in Kung Fu Panda too.

But I might be remembering incorrectly.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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My mom had lots of sayings like this, though she didn't get them from Star Wars.

She said, "either you do it or you don't. Trying doesn't matter." "If you're going to do something, then do it right or don't do it at all." "Don't do a half-a^% job." or the variant "If you're going to half-a#$ it, then don't do it at all." Though that might be appropriate for an adult in a frustrating moment, I remember her saying that to me at 8 because I couldn't properly iron pleats in my skirt.

I don't know how the mom you saw said it, so I don't know if it was a joke or frustrating or mean. I felt crummy about it as a child, though consequently my sister and I were really good at everything we did. Once I became an adult, though, I fell apart because I never had any real concept of what I liked because there'd been so.much.pressure to be the best at everything.

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Old 06-29-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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My mother tried saying this to me recently, but she wasn't quoting Star Wars. She learned it in this self help thing called LandMark. It infuriated me, because it was about changing my attiude, and she used a story of the lady said something about trying and the woman on the stage said "try" to take a tissue from this tissue box. The woman did. The lady on stage told her no, "try." Obviously in this circumstance you either do or don't, and when I tried explaning to my mother that some circumstances are do or don't, there are also others like changing attitude that will take removing the old habit and replacing it with new, thus trying, since habits are inbedded in us till repeatedly broken. My mother didn't like my response and continued with do or don't. You should find out if the teacher has taken LandMark classes, because my mother is always thinking it's okay to pull LandMark stuff on my children to 'start them in the right direction early.'
If someone used to tissue thing with me, I would just tell them to go out and bring me a car sized bolder barehanded.

I'd like to see a "do" for that one.

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Old 06-29-2009, 02:42 AM
 
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Personally I don't see what good can come from a statement like that. If you can either do it or not do, instead of try to do it and accept failure as a possible outcome then what is the use of doing something you don't know if you can do?

I didn't just sit down at the piano one day and start playing. I tried and failed many times. What kept me at it was knowing that the more I try, even if I fail, the better I will get and eventually I will be able to do it.


Yes, this.

I get the whole philosophy behind the statement, but it's a little heavy for a preschooler isn't it?
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:32 AM
 
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ITA with the Star Wars geek diagnosis, but also with the feeling that it's not actually a useful thing to tell a little kid. Sometimes the way we go from not doing to doing is to try and fail a whole lot.
That's the "do not" of the phrase. You are to do until you are successful. Every time you do not (i.e. fail), you are to do again. And keep doing until you do it. That's the part that Luke didn't get. Everything up to that moment that Yoda told him to do, he did it. Now Yoda told him to do something that Luke "knew" was impossible. So he really didn't try at all. There is no way to really comment on the use of the phrase in the op. There is not enough information to get the context of the phrase.

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Old 06-29-2009, 03:48 AM
 
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I also thought of Star Wars.

It could be approrpriate in some cases, but overall, I think it misses the point of why we do "try" even though we might not be able to do something perfectly.

I also agree that it is going to be lost on the majority of preschoolers! Even if the child responds to a request- say, "You need to respect [child] and what she asks, please," with "I'll try," a better response would be, "Do you think it's going to be hard? Will you need help?" etc.

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Old 06-29-2009, 04:19 AM
 
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Personally I don't see what good can come from a statement like that. If you can either do it or not do, instead of try to do it and accept failure as a possible outcome then what is the use of doing something you don't know if you can do?

I didn't just sit down at the piano one day and start playing. I tried and failed many times. What kept me at it was knowing that the more I try, even if I fail, the better I will get and eventually I will be able to do it.
Yep.

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My mom had lots of sayings like this, though she didn't get them from Star Wars.

She said, "either you do it or you don't. Trying doesn't matter." "If you're going to do something, then do it right or don't do it at all." "Don't do a half-a^% job." or the variant "If you're going to half-a#$ it, then don't do it at all." Though that might be appropriate for an adult in a frustrating moment, I remember her saying that to me at 8 because I couldn't properly iron pleats in my skirt.

I don't know how the mom you saw said it, so I don't know if it was a joke or frustrating or mean. I felt crummy about it as a child, though consequently my sister and I were really good at everything we did. Once I became an adult, though, I fell apart because I never had any real concept of what I liked because there'd been so.much.pressure to be the best at everything.
My mother also had a lot of similar things to say and yep, I felt pretty crummy about them too.

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Old 06-29-2009, 04:25 AM
 
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Yes, this.

I get the whole philosophy behind the statement, but it's a little heavy for a preschooler isn't it?

Yes, this!! ITA

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Old 06-29-2009, 05:10 AM
 
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Misquoting Star Wars to a child? Horrendous. He'll grow up saying it wrong and his friends will laugh at him.

Other than that I don't really have a beef with the phrase. I quote all sorts of things whether or not I actually mean or believe them... "So's your face", for instance. And I do have several distinct childhood memories of half-heartedly "trying" to find a lost item and coming back whining "I can't fiiiiind it" - I suspect it would have been very good for me to adopt a results-oriented trying-doesn't-count-find-the-darn-hairbrush-already philosophy.

On a purely geeky level I'd also like to point out that Yoda's "There is no try" was meant to educate Luke on the non-importance of matter. Luke was "trying" to raise the ship - straining and getting all agitated because he thought the size of the ship made it harder to lift than the boulders. That wasn't the way. He was supposed to let go, let the Force flow through him and realise that "size matters not" - that's how Yoda did it, calmly and without apparent exertion. Again, possibly not the best message to teach your kid, but I don't think "there is no try" can justly be applied to piano playing. At least, not non-Jedi piano playing. ("Feel the Strauss!")

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Old 06-29-2009, 05:52 AM
 
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If it was a Star Wars thing, I see nothing wrong with it at all.

For instance, in this setting:
"Put your shoes on, honey"
"Ok, I'll try"

*Mom jokingly quotes Star Wars because it made her think of it*

I don't really see how it's a big philosophy thing, or really wrong in any way.

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Old 06-29-2009, 07:35 AM
 
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We have it on the inside of our toilet door. : And yes, it's a life philosophy, and yes, it's something we teach the kids to live by, and yes, darned right my preschooler watches Empire Strikes Back.

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
That's the "do not" of the phrase. You are to do until you are successful. Every time you do not (i.e. fail), you are to do again. And keep doing until you do it. That's the part that Luke didn't get. Everything up to that moment that Yoda told him to do, he did it. Now Yoda told him to do something that Luke "knew" was impossible. So he really didn't try at all.
That is a great way to explain it.

I LOVE "do or do not; there is no try". Try is defeatist; it assumes you might not do it. I want my kids to have a positive attitude. Of course sometimes (lots of times) we fall short; we have to make another attempt. But I don't think four is too early to start understanding that "whether you say you can or you can't, you're right".

We have a paperweight that says "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" I love that too.

My first instinct on reading the OP was that it is great for adults but not kids. But upon further reading of this thread, I think it is good for just about everyone.

I've always said that people who say they are going to "try" for natural childbirth are quite unlikely to get it. You read, you take classes, you prepare mentally and physically including practicing relaxation, you surround yourself with people who are supportive, you make VERY careful choices in regards to location of birth and your care provider. I never said try. I was committed. In my gut, I knew it was going to happen. We had a couple of unexpected challenges - but I had the right people around me, we were in the right places, and it all did end up well. Not that that is a guarantee! But you up your odds DRAMATICALLY.
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:12 AM
 
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We have it on the inside of our toilet door.
That's either coincidentally or intentionally brilliant.

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:39 AM
 
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I heard this comment growing up. I think even a child who is a star wars fan could potentially be hurt by this statement. It's very upsetting and discouraging as a child to be told that you aren't trying when you are, or that trying isn't good enough (I don't want to hear you'll try. either do it or dont.) (and there were consequences if I didn't, perhaps that was another factor) I grew up feeling like I ever did was good enough and it really hurt that my trying was not enough. I have to say, I would have been happy with my parents if they had at least tried to be compassionate with me.
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:47 AM
 
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I heard this comment growing up. I think even a child who is a star wars fan could potentially be hurt by this statement. It's very upsetting and discouraging as a child to be told that you aren't trying when you are, or that trying isn't good enough (I don't want to hear you'll try. either do it or dont.) (and there were consequences if I didn't, perhaps that was another factor) I grew up feeling like I ever did was good enough and it really hurt that my trying was not enough. I have to say, I would have been happy with my parents if they had at least tried to be compassionate with me.
Perhaps for an adult or older teenager, this could be a useful statement, but for a preschooler? I don't think so. It's very discouraging. I think a better phrase is "If you don't succeed, try try again". Like the piano example, you won't play Fur Elise on your first try, but with lots of "tries", you can. I think "Do or do not, there is no try" to a preschooler can lead to one of two possibilities, a perfectionist attitude (I won't do it until I can get it perfect) or a defeatist attitude (I can't do it right anyways, so why bother trying?)

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Old 06-29-2009, 11:30 AM
 
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Is the child a Star Wars fan? Sounds like the mom was just saying what Yoda said to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.
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Oh true.

I came back to this thread because I'm still laughing.

My second round of thought is basically that we don't have to turn everything we say to our preschoolers into a life philosophy.

I do quote to my son inappropriately (or over-appropriately!) sometimes. Example: he is locked in a battle of wills with me. My husband enters and everything is suddenly roses. "Now is the winter of our discontent // Made glorious summer by this son of York."

ETA: I'm laughing more. Maybe you have to have been a Star Wars geek to get it - but Yoda is definitely not anti-trying. He's actually anti-WHINING.

The whole thing is that Luke is whining that Yoda wants him to do something IMPOSSIBLE, boo hoo (Luke is prone to whining) and also something that he thinks is beyond his potential. Yoda's point is that it's not impossible. Actually the more I'm analysing this the more I think maybe it is appropriate for a preschooler.

Then, or a bit later (I forget the sequence) Yoda does the "impossible" and Luke says "I don't believe it" and then Yoda says "That is why you fail."
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That's the "do not" of the phrase. You are to do until you are successful. Every time you do not (i.e. fail), you are to do again. And keep doing until you do it. That's the part that Luke didn't get. Everything up to that moment that Yoda told him to do, he did it. Now Yoda told him to do something that Luke "knew" was impossible. So he really didn't try at all. There is no way to really comment on the use of the phrase in the op. There is not enough information to get the context of the phrase.
: geeks of the world untie! I am forever quoting star wars to DH (my favorite being "stay on target, stay on target" whenever he starts talking about some off-the-wall scheme he and his coworkers thought up. We quote SW, Fight club, and South Park a lot. Sometimes we say things to DS too. Right now, DS is chewy, because his answers are not always discernable.

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Old 06-29-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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My 5 year old would have thought I was the best mom ever if I quoted Star Wars in an appropriate situation (especially since I've never seen any of them...he has and has memorized nearly every line of every episode due to his autism photographic memory for movies)

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darned right my preschooler watches Empire Strikes Back.
LOL...Brandon likes that one, but prefers Revenge of the Sith (he calls it "revenge of the sniff", which I think is the cutest thing ever. : )

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Old 06-29-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by galincognito View Post
i overheard a woman saying to a preschool aged child "there is no try; you do or you don't do."

i'm just curious what others think of this statement. while i can see it applying in certain circumstances (ie. an obediance situation where the child says they are "trying" to follow the rule but they "forgot"), i'm not sure about the statement as a life philosophy sort of thing. to me it seems rather discouraging; if i can't do it then i might as well not do it since trying doesn't matter.

i'm just interested in what others think when they hear this statement.
I also think of Yoda.

I'm not sure it was being used in a life philosophy sense by the woman to the young child. It may have been a specific thing or a family joke.

I think if you decide to take the statement as your life philosophy it can be uplifting and helpful. However, if it is something that is told to you by someone else I think it can be discouraging rather than helpful especially to a young child.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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