Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

When ‘I get to’ replaces ‘I have to’

By
From page A2 | December 04, 2012 |

“It’s not that we ‘have’ to do it; it’s that we ‘get’ to do it.”

So said a friend right after Thanksgiving. She said it’s a lesson she and her husband are trying to increasingly focus on with their family.

It’s a lesson I could use. I think as we enter the Christmas season, it’s a lesson a lot of us could use.

Here’s what she meant: To think more, and more routinely, in terms of having the opportunity to do something and how that might even change duty into delight. So, instead of “I have to do my volunteer work at school today,” think of it as “I get to do my volunteer work at school today.” This subtle change inevitably brings to mind so many things to be thankful for, including my children, the fact that they have the opportunity to get an education, that I’m healthy and can help serve lunch at the school.

I even think it might allow my family to live a little more in the moment, something I’m constantly striving – but too often unsuccessfully – to do. How frequently might we say that “I have to go grocery shopping,” ”I have to make dinner for my family” or “I have to visit that friend who has cancer”? And how does using “have” inform how we think about those things?

Now, insert “get” instead, and suddenly we are more likely to think about the privilege of full refrigerators and spending time with a dear one and how amazing it is we have our own health and can make the time to visit to begin with.

When you think about it, our lexicon is filled with such words that tell a lot about our priorities. My children, for instance, would say, “I get to go Black Friday shopping!” But they would also likely say, “I have to go to church on Sunday.” (I myself would definitely make the case that “I have to go Black Friday shopping,” but that’s for another time.)

More to the point, I would typically assert, “I have to go visit my dad,” but “I get to go out with my husband.” That says a lot about how I understand the privilege of having an aging father to love and care for.

And do we more often say “I have to go to work,” or “I get to go to work”?

It would be odd, I suppose, to call a friend and have her tell us, “I can’t. I get to go to the doctor this afternoon.” Though, when you think about it, that’s exactly what a person suffering from illness in the Third World might say. So, why should it be so odd here?

The world itself might be radically changed if more of us simply thought, “I get to pray,” versus “I have to pray.” But that could fill another column.

Here, as my friend talked, it simply occurred to me that, even on a mundane basis, speaking or at least thinking about our daily tasks and responsibilities as “I get to,” as opposed to “I have to,” might lead to a lot more gratefulness and joy in the moment.

At least, I really, really hope so. Especially because it’s that time of year again, the time when I, um, “get to” go outside and spend hours in the freezing cold putting up the Christmas lights!

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Email hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • GemmaDecember 04, 2012 - 11:27 am

    I've tried this concept, though not long enough for it to stick. They say do something for two weeks, and it becomes a habit.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • VallejoanDecember 05, 2012 - 7:29 am

    I've tried this. It didn't really change anything. I feel the way I feel about certain tasks, and changing the wording doesn't change those feelings. "I get to scrub the toilet" is just laughable. OTOH, thinking in terms of "I need to" instead of "I have to" sometimes actually helps. I don't "have to" scrub the toilet - no one is forcing me to do it, and I could choose to leave it dirty. However, I "need to" scrub the toilet if I want a clean toilet. Which I do. "Need to" reminds me that I have a choice, but that there's a good reason why I should choose to do it. I like having choices.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 05, 2012 - 8:12 am

    OR as the saying goes: I don't “have to” do anything but die and pay taxes. I “get to” die and pay taxes just doesn’t have that same poetic feel! :)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 6 Comments

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 13 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9