Yes

I say no more than I say yes.
I didn’t realize it until I became conscious of it. My real life friend Jennifer issued a personal challenge for herself: to say yes as often as she could this summer. 
She encouraged me to do the same.
I learned something the first day I tried it:  I say no all the time.
Naturally, I choose no more than yes.
I don’t like this about me.
Oh, I can offer dozens of excuses for why I say no. Safety is obviously a priority. Cleanliness is way up there too. But I like structure, organization. I like control. And I can maintain control if I say no.
Often times, saying yes requires more work for me. I say no because I’m selfish.
Yuck.
So, I’m baby-stepping, I’m trying to say yes more. 
Yes, you can do sidewalk chalk in  your pajamas. Yes, you can pull all the cushions off the couch for family movie night. 
(Try not to look at what was under the couch cushions)
It’s not easy for me to say yes.
And I’m not good at it.
Lisa (the genius blogger behind the retired Domestic Accident) sent me this link.
I encourage you to watch the video or listen to the tract. It’s from a Mom, who is dying. She writes about how Death is Not Dying. She talks about saying yes and about capturing each moment and about finding true happiness at the Cross.
I was moved deeply by it. 
Moved to say yes.
Yes, you can have a silly string fight on the trampoline.
Yes, you can build a fort on the landing and leave it up for two days. Yes, you can eat lunch in it. Yes, you can introduce your sister to Sleeping Beauty on my laptop in the fort….

Yes, yes, yes.

It’s getting easier.
Is it hard for you to say yes or are you a natural?

Food for the Soul:
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11


Comments

  1. Kim says

    An unexpected consequence of learning to say yes: a child who believes anything is possible and understands that failures aren't fatal!

  2. says

    With a little boy, I feel like I have to say NO a lot – no, you may not jump down the stairs; no, you may not stand on the back of the couch; no, you may not ride the dog.

    I am working on saying yes more. I'm with you in that it's hard!

  3. says

    I wouldn't venture so far as to say I'm a natural at saying Yes…more of that I am too much of a people pleaser! Then again, I'm not a parent at this point, so I probably don't relate 100%. Sometimes I find that I have to make more of a conscious effort to say no (otherwise I'll be swamped), and sometimes saying no…means saying it to myself!! Good for you for working to make a change :)

  4. says

    As a mother to 3, 2 of which are of the male species, I'm prone to say NO! I'm consciously working toward saying Yes more often! Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one! :)

  5. says

    And, I can tell you it doesn't get any easier with teens! Thanks for stepping on my toes (hey, it can be a good thing!) and reminding me controlling my kids with "no" really isn't control – sometimes it's just plain old mean.

    Blessings!

  6. says

    I completely agree. I often say no just because I feel that what I am in the middle of is more important than what one of my kids (or more than 1) is asking or wanting. Sometimes I say no because I'm annoyed by their constant 'mom can I' banter. I have to stop myself and ask 'why am I saying no, is there a good reason'. I, too, am trying. I have good days and lots of bad days…but by the time they go back to school I'll be good at it. Then I can just tell myself yes!

  7. says

    Oh, goodness….. I am in the same boat. I have put our home on a strick schedule in order to try to find some kind of order and not get into the situation where there is tons of chaos and we have "can't have anyone over syndrome". So, I have been in that 'no' mode. Your post was an inspiration…. Thanks for that! There must be a way to have more order and less chaos without saying no all the time!

  8. says

    My 89 year old Grandmother told my Mother that the only regret she had about parenting was that she didn't say yes enough. She wasn't talking about dangerous activities or important issues, she was speaking of the small things that our children ask to do…but they are inconvenient for us, so we say no. Oh how I'm trying to keep this in mind!

  9. says

    I am soo naturally a "no" person. I've mellowed over the years, though.

    Thanks for the link to the video. It was just what the Doctor ordered. :o)

    Dorci

  10. says

    I grew up with a mother who said yes more than she said no. It was a gift I didn't know I was getting.

    I honestly can say that I say yes more than I say no. Because I was taught how to do it with a hang loose kind of mom.

    Like I said, it was a gift. I'm passing it on to my kids :-)

  11. says

    I was so inspired by the Death is Not Dying speech. I watched it a few weeks ago and I've been working on the serving 'with joy' as well.

    You never know when you're going to wake up thinking it's just another day, only to get a phone call from the doctor telling you your life is going to change. I know.

    I'm saying YES and working on serving my family WITH JOY this summer! Yay for life!

  12. says

    Kristen this reminds me of the movie Yes Man, with Jim Carrey. He was missing out on life when he decided to start saying yes. It was quite a silly movie, I didn't actually like it too much. But I realized then that I say no too much. I want to say yes as often as I can to my Princess. If it is not something wrong, or will hurt another, why not let her? Thanks for the great post and reminding me to say yes.

  13. Nancy says

    YES, I have a hard time saying yes! Watching the movie Yes Man made me want to say it more often. (Have you seen it?) But then I slide back into my old, cautious habits. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. says

    No, I don't say yes enough. ;-) I used to with my first – but then came three and bigger messes. But I am trying, 'specially with them being boys, as I tend to want to protect them from dangers and owies. WHAT?

    I grocery shopped with my two youngest yesterday, and two little boys rode their little scoot/cycles (maybe they were 3/4 yos) in the store (really, it's different here…) and I thought "HMMMPH!" When they were leaving and we were packing up our stroller with groceries (we walked) – my 8yo said bye to them, and one made a raspberry sound at him, and I said – "Rude" – under my breath, but son2 heard and said – "Ah, he was just being a 4year old kid, mom." ACK! The wisdom of kids. But, I did talk to him about allowing children to do everyTHING they WANT versus some things, where and when appropriate – and how that is our job as parents…blah blah blah. So, to make a long comment longer -I am trying!

    Lovely post – Thanks!

  15. says

    I have a hard time saying "yes: too. Because usually a "yes" means extra work for me – more to clean, more to put away, more to fix…but I should probably get over it. I'm going to try to say "yes" more today! Well, maybe at least once more today…babysteps…

  16. Jo@Mylestones says

    NO! er, I mean yes, I do have a hard time saying yes. I unfortunately identified with the "selfish" reasons for the "No"s. Saying yes is usually more work, more mess, more inconvenient. So thanks for the challenge–words I needed to hear…
    Jo

  17. says

    I'm much better at saying 'yes' to my grandchildren than I was at saying it to my children. ;-)

    I have a friend who has always tried very hard to say yes–she says it gives 'no' a lot more weight. Her kids know that when she says 'no', it's for a very good reason and they tend to listen.

  18. says

    Wow this post pretty much sums how I am. I am VERY aware of it as well and it just kills me. I do, on occasion, stop and think about it and then change my mind. I am working on stopping and thinking about it before I even say no.

    I'm sure my kids will appreciate it more that way as well. My mother always told me not to sweat the small stuff… and it's ALL small stuff.

    Thanks for the post Kristen!

  19. says

    Oh I am definitely like you said above. More No than Yes… I like this challenge. I am going to take it! :) Thank you for making me think!

  20. says

    Sometimes I have "NO" out before they even finish asking…so sad. I have been working on this for a couple of months now and it's interesting…we have more fun and better days when I am a little more relaxed and say "yes" more often. And reading the comments above…it's nice to know I'm not alone.

  21. says

    I absolutely loved this post! You are right… I think I get so overwhelmed by my to-do list, that sometimes saying "No" is just easier. Maybe I will jump on the "Yes" bandwagon and see how well I do :)

  22. says

    "No! Don't! Stop!" That's all I feel like I say to my 4yo DS. I'm driving myself crazy & I'm sure I'm driving him crazy. Just like some of the other mom's most of the time I say no for selfish reasons because I'm usually the one to clean up the mess or to be inconvenienced, etc. It seems to be especially hard in the mornings when my kids are ready to go, go, go & I'm not a morning person. It takes me a while to wake up. Not to mention I'm working on being caffeine free. It sure seems to have made me more grumpy. I hope that changes soon. I'll work on saying "yes" more but I don't think it's going to be easy.

  23. says

    Ouch! I really was trying this a while ago, but then…Well, I forgot! Thanks for the timely reminder. I have to let my kids be kids and enjoy the only childhood they're going to have. Plus, I'm tired of being the "no-fun" mama all the time. :)

  24. Anonymous says

    I even say no too often to the dogs! Thanks for reminding me to let go more often.

    Cheryl

    p.s. Glad to hear about Lisa from Domestic Accident. I miss reading her blog!

  25. says

    I lean to the middle, if safety isn't a factor It's almost always yes, if it's no I explain why and offer something similar but safe. Like: it's not safe to ride your bike in the street, but you CAN ride it here… A lot of times I find myself saying we can't do that now, but we can here or we can do this instead (and they often forget) I find that not actually saying the word NO even if it's really what the 'other' answer means prevents a tantrum but I still get accomplished what I need to. Messes I couldn't care less about, they can do that all they want. Dirt washes off.

  26. Nicole says

    I'm a natural at saying yes to everyone when they ask me to volunteer myself to do things for them/their organization, etc.

    But as a mom I say no all day long.

    :(

    That hurt to even type out. I need to follow your lead. Another blogger I love (Like Merchant Ships) also posted about this topic recently.

    Hmm, is God trying to say something to me???

  27. says

    I came across your site through "Raising Olives." What a great post which such truth in it! I also have a very hard time saying "yes," and I have been trying. I'm glad to know that it gets easier!
    Blessings,
    Karen

  28. says

    Rachel has also motivated me to say yes more and savor every moment. She's leaving quite a legacy of moms inspired to enjoy every moment of their kids' lives!

  29. says

    This post really has me thinking…I say "no" more than "yes". I got to thinking why is it easier to say no….I came to the conclusion that it is fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not being in control, fear of letting go, fear of what people may think…the list goes on and on! Not only does fear rule my life…I let it determine how my kids live.
    I struggle with letting go and trusting that my God will protect and supply my family with all our needs.
    Thanks Kristen! I will strive to say yes more than no…to trust God more…and to lighten up and stop living in fear!

  30. says

    I'm going to try this more often. You know, my grandmother let us do those things like pulling off the cushions and making forts and those are some of the happiest memories of my life. You are letting your children create good memories! Thanks for the reminder!

  31. says

    I'm so glad to hear you are still in touch with Lisa @ Domestic Accident. I truly miss her blog. I hope all is well with her.

    This post has really hit home and while I tend so yes often to silly things with my three – I do say No more often. And yes, that hurts.

    So, not leave you with a complete downer, check out my post to see what we do when we get a break from the rain… :)

    http://forthatwhichmatters.blogspot.com/2009/05/break-from-rain.html

    Thank you, as always!

  32. says

    I hadn't thought about it that much before, but I'm a no person too, for some of the very reasons you said. OK, you've challenged me, I'm going to try to say yes a little more often.

  33. says

    Thanks for the link for which I followed and now that I have read Rachel's story and letters I to will be more conscience of saying YES to my family especially my children. I am a firm believer that life is to short but rarely do much about it. This is how I am going to start!

  34. says

    I was always scared of spoiling my child too much and though saying YES alot resulted in this. But I have realised now that it really doesnt hurt if I give him a cookie when he asks for one, I mean gosh if I feel like a cookie I just go get one right! Today we even went to the shop just to get cookies.

    My house is trashed as I type and even though I would like some order, Little one has had a very fun morning just as your kids look like they are enjoying their summer.

  35. says

    there is a mom in our church who has 10 kids who abides by this. she said she tries to NEVER say no out of conveinence. her kids are very respectful, well behaved, and FUN!
    i don't have kids yet, so i think it's a GREAT idea! :) i will pray for you!

  36. Mrs. Querido says

    I am convicted right now as I read this post. I say no for many of the same reasons you used to. Thanks for the challenge to say yes and let go of the controls :)

  37. says

    I'm better at 'yes,' myself because I'm pretty easy-going. My husband is better at 'no.' We balance it nicely, I think, and my 3 adult and one quasi-adult children turned out fine.
    It should always be 'no' when it comes to something dangerous or disrespectful or illegal.
    It should often, very often, be 'yes' if it is educational, helpful, and easy to clean up! Trust me, the kids will be talking about that landing fort years and years from now with the happiest of memories! And isn't that worth the two-day mess?

  38. says

    That video had me contemplate so much. I really need to watch it again because immediately after, I made a real effort to say yes, and since school has let out for the summer, I've reverted to no. Oh, the mess, the running around, the sibling rivalry. Not to mention my sheer laziness. What impressed me the most about that mom's speech was her complete and utter trust in God, her lack of fear. I think without that fear it would be easier to say yes.

    ps- you had me at genius.

  39. says

    I'm a perpetual no-sayer (would naysayer fit in this sentence?)for the same reasons you lamented on above.

    I know I need to say yes more often. It's just so hard….

    I will try. It will require lots of patience, deep breaths, and iced teas!

  40. says

    You made a difference in my day! Things I said yes to today: Fruit Gushers before lunch….why not! Hair station in the middle of my living room for "hair-doing" after naps/rest time….fun stuff!….and extra lemonade at lunch…. Thanks for helping me say less of "NO"!

  41. says

    I tis so hard for me to say yes because like you it usually means more work for me and that I will have to let go of some control.
    But with a 14 yr old she always yells, you never let me do anything. I figure if I don't start saying yes she will rebel. yikes!

  42. says

    I say no…alot. Mainly because I'm selfish or lazy. The best advice I was ever given was from my mom; she told me "If there's not a good reason to say no, than say yes!"

    I have to repeat that to myself 50 million times a day.

  43. C.Thompson says

    What a great post. This really hit home yesterday and it was an inspiration for me to have my own yes day. Today I've made a conscience effort to say yes instead of no. So far, my kids have had an awesome day and I will be blogging about my YES day inspiration. Thanks for putting the little things into perspective.

  44. says

    Wow. This is good.

    Unfortunately, I think that I say "no" all the time too. (And I so want to be the "fun" mom.)

    I think the biggest piece of evidence is that my daughter, (6) now starts many sentences with, "I know you are going to say no….."

    Agh!

  45. laytonfamily says

    I say no – all the time. It's a natural response because he usually wants to do the most crazy things. I'm trying not to be a fuddy duddy !!

  46. says

    I really needed to read this!! I have a little boy who will be 3 years old in two months and I feel like I've been saying no constantly for the past year! I'm going to try to change this bad habit. I've already made my post-it notes to put around the house. They simply read, "Say YES!".
    Thanks!

  47. says

    I, too, am trying to say "yes" more…although it is SO hard sometimes. I have those same control issues! :) I've fallen off the wagon a bit these last couple of weeks as we've been preparing for camp and VBS…your post is a good reminder that I need to jump back on! Thanks!

  48. says

    This post struck a huge cord with me. I usually just 'lurk' but this time I had to comment.

    I am a single mom to an 8 yo and we've had our struggles (like many), so I decided to try and say 'yes' more often. OMGosh! In just these few short days, she has rediscovered her basic manners – please and thank you. I think she is so surprised that I've said 'yes' so much more.

    I'm going to really make an effort to keep this up, and THANK YOU for posting!

    I heart your blog!!
    ~Julie

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