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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Power of No

No is a powerful word, especially when it comes to raising kids. It is also a hard word to say sometimes but it is a necessary word for more than just keeping kids in line. It also builds self confidence and character. Really, you think? And just how is it possible saying No can build self confidence? I will tell you my story...

I spent a long time afraid of the word no when. I hated to be told no so I lived life fearing the word no. Years ago, we were at a hockey game with my parents and old friends of my family's, from way back in the day when I was a kid, the Van Werts. Claire came running up to me asking for the 200th quarter of the day so she could play video games instead of watching her brother play hockey. I told her "No, no more quarters." Mrs. Van Wert looked at me dead in the eye and said "No, huh? That's a word YOU didn't hear much when you were growing up." I would like to think she was kidding but I believe she was completely serious. Looking back on my childhood I think I was something of a brat. Looking back on some of the ways I behaved I have to believe Mrs. Van Wert was serious. I didn't hear the word No often, until I grew up a little and then I heard it often from those outside my parents. I didn't know how to react to the word so I reacted with fear. I was unaccustomed to hearing "No" so I was afraid of it.

Who in life really wants to hear the word No? I don't know too many people who enjoy being told "No" but I know a fair number of people who work through the word to get to a yes. Lucas is one of these people. He will ask you the same question over and over and over again to get to a yes. Sometimes I call it persistence, sometimes I call it being a pain in the rear. But I wouldn't have it any other way because he is not afraid of the word No. He relishes the battle to get to a yes because he hears the word NO far more often than he hears the word Yes. He will succeed where others fail because he is not afraid of being told no.

I may not have heard no a lot when I was a kid but I am not afraid to apply it to my own kids. I sometimes wonder if my life would have taken a different path had I heard the word no more often...not that I want to change a thing in my life, I just wonder. I am also not being trying to be critical of my parents. They did a great job and I think I turned out OK in spite of the fear. I know when my kids get older they will wonder too about how different life would have been if only we'd done something different. But I won't regret having said no over and over and over again. I don't want them to fear the word no. I want them to be persistant and go further so they can get to the word yes, if they want to. When kids are not afraid their self confidence and character is stronger. They can go far with less fear.

I will say no a million times over for the love of my children...

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