December 5, 2010

Tip of the day—Learn when to say, “Yes” “No” or “Maybe”

When I started thinking about this post, I first thought of interactions with children.  I don’t know about you, but I know that I can easily slip into a habit of responding to our daughter’s questions with an automatic “No”.  If I’m tired or busy or stressed, it is easy to say no to every request instead of really thinking about what and why she is asking for something.  I’m not talking about ridiculous things like wanting to buy something expensive or giving into her every whim.  I’m talking about being aware of my interactions and responses to her. 

Let me give you a couple of examples.  We were at the dollar store the other day.  I had walked over to it after picking up something at Office Max thinking that they might have some baskets I could use for gifts this year.  No luck with that, but while there our daughter found a stack of puzzles and asked if she could get one.  Since I try to be pretty disciplined with our spending, I could have said that we didn’t need it and that the answer was no.  Then I thought more about it and looked at her face.  I thought of how my grandmother loved the dollar store and would send our daughter a little money every now and again so that she could shop there.  I thought of how while probably made in China, the puzzle was educational and recyclable.  Instead of saying no, I said yes.  Our daughter was absolutely thrilled and took such joy in paying for it at the cash register herself.

Another example is the park.  She wants to go to the park across from our church almost every time we are there.  I usually say no because we are rushing here and there getting stuff done, we have a play area in our yard, etc, etc.  The last time she asked me, I thought about how dumb it was to tell her no.  It was as if I were saying, “No, I don’t want you to get exercise, sunshine and to be a kid.  I want you to run on my schedule”.  I said yes, and I will continue to say yes whenever I can to requests like this. 

Being aware of what she is asking allows me to respond to the real need.  Many times it isn’t in the stuff or the activity, it is in wanting to spend time with her parents or her friends.  The puzzle wasn’t about buying a toy, it was about working the puzzle with her Momma and Daddy.  When I write this, I’m sure it sounds to some people like I neglect her and to others like I overindulge her.  I really don’t think that I do either.  I try to work each day to have a relationship with her where we offer guidance, support, love, affection, safety, and security, among other things.  I’m by no means a perfect mother, but I don’t think I’m the worst one out there either.  Balance is what I am striving for—finding some kind of happy medium in knowing when to say yes and when to say no.

Then the more I thought about the idea of saying yes to questions, I started realizing how easy it is to say yes to the stuff that drains, stresses, and limits us.  Women are especially bad about overextending ourselves by saying yes to a request before realizing what is being asked and what commitment (time, energy, expenses) are going to be required.  When approached with a request from someone other than my immediate family, I am working on saying, “Let me think about it” or “Let me look at my calendar” or “I don’t think I can commit this year, but give me a call next year.”   Even if I really want to participate in an event or activity, I try and look over my schedule or talk it over with my husband first.  This keeps me from overextending or double booking. 

So I guess the idea of awareness again is a central focus.  Be aware of how you are responding and what motivates not only the person asking something of you but your response to him/her

As I mentioned on 12/1, the tips of the day posts from now through Christmas are focusing on ways to have a merrier Merry Christmas.  I hope you are finding them in some small way helpful, and above all, I hope you are enjoying the wonders of this Christmas season.  Thanks for stopping by today!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this post.... I find myself automatically saying no alot. I am going to step back and re-work my attitude!