I was sitting at a red light recently and looking at the car in front of me when I was hit with a memory of my childhood. When I was in middle and high school, riding around town with my friends and mom, whenever we would get to a red light we would execute our finest trick ever. A Chinese fire drill. Whenever we would reach a red light and get the cue from my mom we would all fling open the doors, run around the car as quick as we could, and get back in the car even faster. Miles down the road, we were all still high from the adrenaline and giggling uncontrollably. Still staring at the back of the car in front of me the only thing I could think of was, “There is NO WAY I’d let my kids do that. NO. WAY.”
I used to put aluminum foil on my teeth to pretend I had braces. “That’s wasteful!”
When I was about 5 she took me to the mom and pop shoe store to buy black patent dress shoes for my baby doll. “That’s dumb. A baby doesn’t need REAL shoes! Not when my own kids need shoes!”
Eight of us piling in a car after a football game to go to the local pizza place. “That’s dangerous and I have enough kids anyway…I don’t need more!”
A group of friends going to toilet paper houses on a Saturday night with my mom driving “the getaway car.” “There are so many things wrong with that! The cops! Staying out too late! Do you know how expensive toilet paper is?!”
Having a group of girlfriends over to spend the night. “Did I mention I had enough kids of my own??”
Last week my Facebook feed was blown up with love and adoration for our moms. My mom is truly amazing.
And these are just a few of the memories I have of growing up. A few of the million things my mom let me do. A few of the million things I would say “no” to my own kids for one reason or another.
I say “no” alot.
More than I should.
And when I do say “yes” my kids get a “deer in the headlight” look because the word sounds so foreign to them.
How could I have let this happen? I am a pretty hip person! Wait, did saying “hip” just un-cool me? Ugh. Well, I have decided to change this. To NOT make my knee jerk reaction be to automatically say no without any thought to it. Why? Because when I really need to say no, my kids will know that it’s legit and I am saying it for a good reason.
So. I’ve made a checklist. I love lists.
So naturally, I made a list.
And the title of this list is…
When You Should Say Yes
By Jill Banks
1) Will me saying ‘no’ protect you from something that will hurt you?
No you can’t take your dad’s fillet knife into the woods with you. You’re 8 and it is unsafe.
2) Will me saying ‘no’ protect your siblings from something that will hurt them?
No, you can’t take your 2 year old sister for a picnic on the top of the van. She can barely walk on flat ground.
3) Will me saying ‘no’ keep you from dishonoring yourself, our family or Jesus?
No, you can’t put a video of you on YouTube of you running naked through the neighborhood.
Notice this list does not include anything about keeping me comfortable or making sure I am not inconvenienced (which was the guiding force in
most all of my decisions….)
In light of this list I have made the theme of 2015 for me to be #whynot.
Mom, can I wear my princess costume to church?
“No. We have to dress nicely to church and your bow needs to match and colors need to coordinate with your sister.”
“Well, it’s not what I want, but sure. Why not? There’s no unwritten rule saying you have to match your sister and Jesus doesn’t care what you have on, just that you’re there. Because in actuality the only reason I want you to match your sister is so people will look sweetly at you and think highly of me. BUT in the scheme of things, when you’re writing a blog post about me when you’re almost 40, are you going to think back and say, ‘wow, mom loved me because she made me match Ellie.’ Probably not. You WILL have fond memories of wearing a princess costume to church because it made you feel pretty which in turn freed your thoughts up to focus on Jesus. At church. Wow. What a concept. #whynot
So. I challenge you as I challenge myself. Say YES! Especially when you want to say NO!! Say yes to the sleepovers, and the friends over, and the experimental recipes, and the makeovers. Because I know, just like I remember 6 year old me running around the backyard in a pair of brand new Marilyn Monroe heels, I remember my mom saying ‘yes.’
And I want mine to too.