One of the things I’ve learned in my journey as a mom is the need for me to raise the level of nurture I bring to parenting in order to help my children build trust. My children need to trust that I will consistently meet their needs in ways that help them understand that they are precious and that their voice matters. Telling them I will meet their needs helps them to “know it;” showing them (over and over and over again) helps them experience it and learn to trust.
I’ve learned that one of the best ways to accomplish this is to give my children as many “yes’s” as I can. It is through my “yes’s” that I can best give my kids this gift of trust. In order to improve in this area, during a recent Saturday at home with my kids I committed to giving them as many “yes’s” as possible. Trust me, this wasn’t easy, but I need the practice and they need the gift. Throughout the course of that day I was intentional about catching myself before each and every “no” I was about to give. As I stopped to think every time I considered saying “no,” I asked myself a simple question: Can I give my child a joyful “yes” instead?
What I learned in the course of this day was truly insightful. I realized that I am often tempted to say “no” out of mere convenience or for selfish reasons. In fact, in many situations giving a “no” had become my default response. But I discovered something even more amazing – the more “yes’s” I gave the better my kids responded to me and the more our connection was strengthened.
I know what you may be thinking about now – that as a mom we can’t always give “yes’s.” This is certainly true. But I am discovering that the more “yes’s” I give the easier it is for my kids to accept the “no’s” that are an undeniable part of learning and growing. In fact, as I am mindful and creative about giving “yes’s,” I have found that I can often give a “yes” to go along with many of my “no’s.” For example, when I found my six-year-old daughter Kate in the pantry looking for a snack just 15 minutes before lunch, I had to say “no.” But, I was also able to give her a “yes” by telling her that she could put her snack in a special place and have it after lunch. That “yes” represented a win for both of us, and allowed me to meet her need and put another, albeit small, deposit in our trust account.
Each day is full of countless opportunities for me as a mom to give both “yes’s” and “no’s.” My kids certainly need me to say “no” at times in order to help them grow, but they also need many joyful “yes’s” to help them build trust. I am learning that God has given me the responsibility to say “no” when needed, and the privilege to say “yes” as often as I can.