I believe that part of being a good parent is ending every day reflecting on, sometimes even questioning your motives;
“What could I have done differently?”
“Was I my best me today?”
“Did I teach my child enough? Give them enough? Was I enough?”
“What can I do differently tomorrow?”
I also wonder how many days we end having said, “no,” too many times.
Of course, our job is to protect our kids and keep them safe. The word no cannot be erased from our vocabulary; but I wonder how many times we use it for us instead of for them.
How many times are we saying it to prevent extra clean-up that night, or extra effort in that moment when we just want to sit still for a few minutes?
How many times, inadvertently, are we leaving our children feeling discouraged because of this? Keeping them from learning something we take for granted because we already know? How many times are we using, “no,” or, “we can’t do that,” in place of, “I don’t really want to?”
Sure, there will be extra things to clean up that night, but maybe if we said yes a few more times, our child would go to bed feeling even slightly more accomplished. A little less frustrated, a little more relaxed. Their mind a little more nourished, more EXCITED to learn, more inclined to ask to explore, which we must remember is an amazing thing for them to want to do, even if sometimes that means more work.
I’m trying hard to work on that myself.
To wake up and say, “Alright! Let’s explore today! Leave the mess, say yes!”
But then I started thinking… I wonder how often we also do this with other people, not just with our children.
How many times are we perfectly capable of helping, but because it may mean some extra effort, extra clean-up in our lives, we say no?
How often do other people reach out for help and we say “no,” or, “we can’t do that,” in place of, “I don’t really want to?”
How often do we selfishly pass up giving something as simple as our time or resources, or things we have that we take for granted, and leaving other people feeling that same way at the end of their day; discouraged? Frustrated? Questioning humanity? Less likely to want to explore, less nourished as a human being?
Of course, it’s the same as with our children, we cannot erase “no” from our vocabulary. There are things we simply cannot give, things we don’t even have ourselves to give. There are also days where it’s important to nourish our own souls, to take that time to rest our own selves.
But I do wonder… How many times have I said no when I so easily could have said yes?
I also wonder if saying yes wouldn’t benefit both parties so much more, even in the moments when energy is low and everything is clean, because those aren’t the things that really matter.
The mess, OUR mess, will always be there. Our kids, other people, they won’t.
Will you try something with me today?
Offer your hand, offer your help. Your energy, your time, whatever you may have that you’re able to give.
Let’s explore… let’s leave the mess and say yes, in all of the ways that we can, and see at the end of the day how many people, including ourselves, that may nourish.