A valuable principle I’ve learned along the way is to strive to bless children by telling them “Yes!” as much as possible. The answer to pretty much every question can be Yes, if we take a moment to think about how to word it. Really, most all of what children ask of us are things they are allowed to do – it’s only a matter of when and how – right? *smile* This simple concept really is part of the discipleship of our children’s hearts. When they know that we have their best interest at heart, and that we try to say Yes to them as much as possible, they trust us more and we are better able to keep their hearts close to us.
Before you think me an overly lenient mother, let me explain. When children ask for something they would like to eat, it’s almost always something they are allowed to eat, and are able to eat, right? But it’s a matter of when and how they eat that thing. Are they allowed to eat those crackers right now? Maybe not. Are they allowed to eat the crackers in the living room? Probably not. But rather than saying, “No”, we strive to say, “Yes – you may eat those after lunch”, or “Yes – you may eat those at the kitchen table.”
Children are blessed by the word Yes, and they learn to trust that we have their best interest at heart when they know that we seek to tell them Yes as much as possible. And then when we need to say No to something, it is better received because they know it’s thought through and they don’t feel like we always say, “No.”
Here are more examples:
Child – “May I have some popcorn?”
Mom – “Yes, after you sandwich is gone.”
Child – “May I be excused?
Mom – “Yes, when dinner is over.”
Child – “May I have some more, please?”
Mom – “Yes, when you’ve finished what you already have.”
Child – “May I wear my dress coat?”
Mom – “Yes, on Sunday.”
Child – “May I come shopping with you?”
Mom – “Yes, when it’s your turn next week.”
Child – “May I have a Jelly Belly, too?”
Mom – “Yes, when you earn one.”
Child – “May I wear this short sleeved dress [in the winter]?”
Mom – “Yes, in the spring time.”
Child – “May I get this toy?”
Mom – “Yes, when you save your money”, or “Yes probably, that would be a good birthday gift idea.”
Child – “May I climb that rock wall?”
Mom – “Yes, when you’re 13.”
Teenage daughter – “May I wear this [immodest] shirt?”
Mom – “Yes…underneath a turtleneck.” *laugh*
Whether they’re asking about something to eat, something to wear, somewhere to go, something to do, or something they’d like to have, the answer can almost always be Yes if we think of the answer in terms of when and how.
Saying Yes to children usually brings a smile, and we strive to bring smiles in our family. And when the child is required to wait until an appropriate time when they may have that thing, or do that thing, or buy that thing, that is a good opportunity to practice developing their character in patience and delayed gratification.
The parent, or the sibling, is also blessed by being able to say Yes to others! I like to tell our children, “Yes…” I can smile at them and celebrate being able to affirm their desire. I don’t have to feel frustrated or disappointed because the children are constantly asking me for things that I have to say No to. Saying Yes makes me smile, too! It’s a win-win situation to strive to bless with, “Yes!”
Blessings on your efforts,