Can You See It? (The Beginning of Wisdom, Part Two)

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

My son was taking a bath in my bathroom the other night, and I was sitting on the floor next to the tub. We were chatting about this and that, and he got quiet for a minute. Looking over me, at the wall above my bathroom mirror, he finally said, “I like that.” He was referring to a wooden plaque that reads:

“This is the beginning of a new day.

You have been given this day to use as you will.

You can waste it or use it for good.

What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever;

in its place is something that you have left behind.

Let it be something good.”

“I like it too, buddy,” I replied. “What do you like about it?”

“Well, I like what it says,” he explained. “But I really like how they put the words together. I just don’t know how people can do that… write like that. I don’t know how they think of how to put the words together. I could never do that.”

After doing the standard mother response of reassuring him that he was actually brilliant in every possible way and could totally write something that or do anything else on this earth that he wanted to do for that matter, we moved on.

But it stayed on my mind.

It stayed on my mind for a few reasons. One of which being the fact that I read that plaque every single morning as I’m brushing my teeth, but something about him pointing it out to me made me really, REALLY read it—you know what I mean? Because I really want my something today, that something I’ve left behind, to be good!

But second and more importantly is this: my son actually IS a pretty brilliant wordsmith. He says the smartest, funniest, cleverest things, without missing a beat. Words roll from his mind and out of his mouth seemingly effortlessly, and they are good words. (If any of you have ever gone to battle with him, you know what I’m talking about.)

But somehow he doesn’t see that as a skill of his—or at least he doesn’t see that the written version of that is a skill of his.  And I just can’t fathom how he can’t see that.

“I only wish you could see what I see when I look at you.”

Author Kobi Yamada wrote that, and it catches my attention every time I see it, on a card or in a post. Because it’s so true isn’t it? It seems to be so much easier for us to see the goodness that shines in others rather than that which emanates from us.

But I wish you could see.

How smart you are.

How funny you are.

How kind you are.

How brave you are.

How clever you are.

How creative you are.

How beautiful you are.  How stunningly, truly beautiful.

How wonder-full.

Who is your person? You know, the one you so wish could see what you see when you look at them. What would you hope that they could see? Write down the list, like I just did, only write it like you are asking them:

Did you know that you are exquisite? Did you know that you are funny as hell? Did you know that your ability to fix things blows my mind? Did you know that you take my breath away?


Do it now!   I’ll wait.


I think you should tell them. Email them or text them or call them or tell them in person the next time you see them. Because people DON’T know those things, you know. We forget, or we never knew in the first place. 

Oh, you know what? You should probably practice first.  

So go ahead and take that list you just wrote, that one for that other person. Take it to the nearest mirror and look at yourself. Go ahead and practice telling them all those things, by telling yourself first.

Did you know that you are inspiring? Did you know that you are fierce? Did you know that I feel better when I’m with you?


When I think back to that plaque on my wall, this is what I think: one of the ways that I want to use this day, with the intention of leaving something good behind, is by holding up a mirror for you, so you can see what I see.

Because what I see is good.

Can you see it?


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.