No, you can’t go outside without a coat! No, I don’t have time to take you to the mall. No, I can’t chat…I am really too tired to talk right now. Sometimes I fall into patterns of “no” with my family. It happens quickly and often the intense, immediate response of my own “no” even surprises me. I admit, I have often gotten so used to saying no, that I find myself saying it without any justifiable reason. I label this, “Being in the No Zone.”
When my children were younger I recognized this zone creeping into my thinking more and more frequently. It is so easy to see how it happens. My husband calls it the ‘”convergence of simultaneous demands.” I get so overwhelmed that it takes less energy to say no to everything, than yes to anything. I am a self-confessed type A personality and I don’t always do well with things that change the schedule I have planned in my head.
In order to combat this tendency I created a special (secret) day and dubbed it “Yes Day.”
On these days, I say yes to every request possible. I don’t tell my kids about it and it usually takes about four hours for them to realize it is happening. When they realize I haven’t said no all day, they start playing the game to their advantage. “Can we eat out tonight?” “Can we go see a movie?” “Will you spend some time with just me?” “Want to hear me sing a song?” We usually have a wonderful time and it reminds me to keep my “no-zone” in check.
Lisa Hendey, author of The Grace of Yes, states, “Always err on the side of generosity.” It was a lesson her mom handed down to her. She writes in her book about generosity of spirit instilling a sense of being loving and giving people. I believe in this idea and live it in many other areas of my life. Why then, do I find it so difficult to remember this when dealing with my own kids? Perhaps, in part, because I assume they will accept when I say no. That’s a good thing, it shows respect and obedience. But just as I want them to be respectful of the times I have to say no, I want to be respectful of their requests and say yes as often as is reasonable. I want to be generous and loving to my children!
Jesus often said, “Yes,” even when He was tired or needed a break. I want to be like Christ in my own yes. I should be most generous with my own family! My own mom always says, “Charity begins at home.” “Yes Day” can be a way to demonstrate that charity (love) to my own family.
This topic almost seems too light-hearted to discuss on Good Friday, but as I pondered the timing, I realized that it is the most appropriate day to talk about it. Good Friday, when we remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us, was the ultimate “Yes Day!” God Bless.
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Copyright 2015 Mary Lou Rosien. Art provided by the author. All rights reserved.