I wrote a general post about New Year’s Resolutions. I published it here. Then I lost not only that post but my entire site. It happened at a good time, I suppose, since I am participating in a Blogathon this weekend. At least all of those hours will count for something. I literally spent the entire day recovering everything, well except my last post. I am resolutely marching forward! I will re-write and post that entry in time. However first, I will conquer a new entry.
Much has been written over the years about learning to say, “No.” Many people struggle with over-commitment. They struggle with time management. They purposefully practiced learning how to say, “No”. Years ago, I went through that process. Today saying, “No” to others, when the request requires time away from my family and my calling, is relatively easy. However, that was not always the case. My default answer, in times past, was a resounding “Yes”.
If our default for others is “Yes” and only with practice do we learn to set boundaries and say, “No”. Why then do we have no trouble repeating that word over and over to our children? “May I watch a movie?” “No.” “May I eat cake for breakfast?” “No.” “May I have a friend over tomorrow?” “No.”
This year I am learning to say “Yes”. For those of you who don’t know me, let me assure you I am not one to let my children run our household. They will not be eating cake for breakfast every morning because we do not have cake in the house that often. The left-over birthday cake, however will be consumed at some point. Why not let them eat it for breakfast the next morning, along with their oatmeal or eggs? There are even positives to this scenario. The sugar high comes first thing in the morning, with chores next on their routine, instead of late in the evening when it is time to calm down and prepare for bed.
“May I have a friend over, Mom? In the past, as I look beyond my child’s head into his room which looks like a tornado came through it, I would have automatically uttered, “No, your room is a disaster area.” This year I will reply, “Yes, but you’ll have to play outside” or “Yes, as soon as you get your room picked up” more often, instead of the automatic, “No”.
Will I say, “Yes” every time? No, of course not. There are plenty of times when, “No” has to be uttered when rearing children. Ultimately that is exactly why it is important to learn to say, “Yes” when “No” is unnecessary, “No” will necessarily be uttered thousands of times before children are grown. “No”, though necessary, and even critical, it is a negative word. Negativity seems to spread like wildfire. Thus countering it with a simple, positive yes, when possible, changes the atmosphere. You are not convinced? Interestingly, in twenty-four days, I see changes in my children due to this New Year’s Resolution. Amazingly, they accept and respect my “No’s” much more readily now I am learning to say, “Yes”.
Do you find yourself saying, “No” out of convenience or habit?. Do you tend to be negative by nature? I challenge you to make this one small change in your home this year. When your children ask something of you, before you utter the habitual, “No” pause and reflect if “Yes” would be a better answer for your relationship with your child. Again, I am not advocating violating your standards or letting your children run your home. I am just asking you to pause a few seconds and purposefully reply instead of automatically responding without thinking. I look forward to hearing how this affects your relationship with your children.
© Machelle Baker 2014