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Can Changing One Word Change Your Life?

A few weeks ago, my eldest son and I were crawling into our family work truck, setting out to do a bunch of things we really didn't want to do. We'd worked hard all week. I'd gotten a book published and we'd raked up a huge customer lot that was covered in several seasons of wet pine needles. This was all on top of getting a week's worth of school done and completing our domestic chores. So that particular Friday morning we would have really loved a day off.

As Neeko crawled into the truck, he reminded me, "I have to do speech at 1 pm today." Then an idea came to me.

"Neeko, what if instead of saying, 'I have to do speech at 1 pm today,' you say, 'I get to do speech at one today?' And in fact, instead of us saying, 'We have to finish hauling away that job today,' we say, 'we get to haul away that job today?'"

Neeko looked over at me and I saw his lightbulb go on.

"So what if I say, 'I get to do my schoolwork today?'" He replied.

"Yeah! How does that feel different from saying, 'I have to do my schoolwork today?'"

I asked him.

"It feels 100% different. Suddenly, it feels like my schoolwork is a privilege instead of a drudgery." He explained.

And so, on this Friday morning, my adolescent son and I figured out something truly huge and perfectly simple. If you change one word..."have" to "get" can change everything. You change your mindset from drudgery to privilege, from resentment to gratitude.



Elisa Christensen is an American author, poet and public speaker who writes and speaks on addiction and parenting. Her work has been included in numerous publications including Page and Spine and Lady Literary Magazine. She also performs her poetry at venues around California, most notably her poem on addiction titled, Our Greatest Affliction.

Her books include The Fentanyl Warrior, Raising Boys To Be Honorable Men, The Teen Warrior: Raising Addiction-Resistant Kids and The Finest Thread, a collection of her poetry. She is also releasing her first novel, The Far Away, due out in the first quarter of 2021.

Elisa shares her knowledge through speaking engagements on how to transform from victim to warrior, overcome our addictions, and raise addiction-resistant kids.

She lives with her two sons in Pine Mountain Club, CA.


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