May 22, 2006

Why Do We Say "No?"

When my children ask me for something, I have learned along the way to pause and consider before giving an answer. It is very easy to just say "no," but do we always have a good reason for saying "no?"

Sometimes children just need to learn the meaning of the word "no." Plain and simple. It is good to build discipline and character by learning to submit to "no."

Sometimes Mom doesn't want the hassle of what "yes" would entail, so she says "no." But is she really missing out on something special, on an opportunity to tie some heart strings with her children at that moment?

Sometimes what the child wants would not be in his best interests, even though he may not be able to see that right now, or he may not even agree with Mom or Dad. But "no" still stands.

But do we always have a real good reason to say "no?" Most of the time, my answer to my children is "maybe" or "I'll think about it." I don't want to ever make a promise I might not be able to keep, so I might say, "We'll try," or "I hope so." But when I tell my children I will give them a definite answer later, I MUST give them a definite answer later. I do not want to be wishy-washy, or uncommitted.

So, I've learned to think it through a little. "Is there any good reason to say "no" (other than what I've already listed)? If not, am I able to say "yes?" Is there a good compromise? I am careful not to say "no" just because it is the easy thing to do.

I have one child who is full of ideas all the time, so I get lots of practice in this area. Here is an example from her life. When she got to be a young lady, she became very "girly." I, on the other hand, have always been very plain and simple, so her room, her clothes, etc. reflected my own tastes. She desired to have a change in her room toward more femininity, so as she grew up, we changed things here and there, until her room is bursting with tea things, Victorian decorations, fans, ribbons, bows, dolls, smelly things, hat boxes, and all kinds of pink and purple things I would never dream of putting in my own room. But, oh how beautiful it is! (All items purchased at garage sales!)

There is really only one time in life when a girl gets to be a girl. She already knows she will not decorate this way for her husband some day, but the joys she has of being a girl during girlhood is a sweet memory for life.

I thank God that her desire to decorate her room was still glorifying to God. Had she wanted to decorate with anything that would lead her toward the world's ways, that would have been a "no." I am not at all advocating giving in to all a child's whims and wishes, but just to pause and consider, before we are too quick to answer.


Mark Epstein said...

Amen, Amen, and Amen! However, I don't think most husbands necessarily want a "masculine house." One room is usually sufficient (e.g., an office or study). I think it is important for the house to reflect all of its occupants. Our daughter has a love for the pretty, and that is fine, as long as it glorifies God.

Natasha said...

A notice to all who read this article! My room is very much toned down than what is used to be, and I certainly do not have dolls displayed in my rom anymore. I'm saving those for my little girl. I much prefer the Pottery Barn style now, but I did love having a very frilly room when I was younger. However, it is still full of things that smell, as I love candles, perfumes, and lotions. But! they are all natural.