Jason made a comment one day last week that I have been thinking about quite a bit: “It seems like we’re always saying ‘Don’t do this! Don’t do that!'” I took that to mean, “You don’t let the kids do anything or have any fun,” which is totally not what he was implying. He was just making an observation that we (mostly I) say “don’t” a lot.
With 2 young children, saying “no” is a necessity for their well-being, but I have been making an effort to notice exactly what I tell them not to do, and what I should maybe just let them do. I will admit that sometimes I tell them not to do something because it will make a mess that I don’t feel like cleaning up, but I do try to avoid that because sometimes learning is messy, isn’t it?
I documented this morning what I just had to say “don’t” to, if only to provide a little comic relief for a tough post-vacation day!
1. Don’t zip yourself up inside of the luggage unless Mommy is in the same room and knows what you are doing.
2. Don’t go outside to shoot your bow and arrows naked.
3. Don’t pick up Baby Kitty by the neck.
4. Don’t attempt to pick up your sister by the neck.
5. Don’t try to run away from me in this parking lot.
6. Don’t tear the leaves off of the only plant that you or the cats have not yet destroyed.
7. Don’t eat that bright yellow mushroom you just picked from our yard, and don’t suck on your fingers until we have washed your hands.
8. Don’t stick your hand in the baby Vapo-rub, and don’t suck on your fingers until we have washed your hands.
9. Don’t attempt to pick up your brother by the neck.
10. DON’T SUCK ON YOUR FINGERS!
11. Don’t try to pet Goldie (our fish), and don’t suck on your fingers until we have washed your hands.
12. DON’T TRY TO PICK EACH OTHER UP BY THE NECK!
13. Don’t touch the toilet in the Wal-Mart restroom, and don’t do anything until we have washed your hands.
You get the picture, right?
Most of my “don’ts” are hygiene or safety related. Gotta keep them healthy and alive, right?
Google “Saying no to your children” and see what comes up. It is amazing! My favorite article is “How to Say ‘No’ Without Saying ‘No.'” Are you serious?
Say no, people. There is nothing wrong with it. Do we not, as adults, hear “no” in some form or fashion every day? What if our parents never ever said no to us, then one day we got a letter in the mail saying “Thank you for the application, but NO”? This is what would happen:
“Don’t” is necessary to child-rearing. So is “NO.”
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
If we take the time to discipline and say “don’t” and “no” now, our lives and those of our children will be better. If our ultimate goal is to raise up well-adjusted, peaceful, joyful individuals, it is our responsibility to teach them that the world doesn’t always say “yes.”
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. Proverbs 23: 13-15
I for one will say “don’t” and “no” as much as it takes to teach Charlie kindness and gentleness towards animals and other people, and to teach Maddie that she has to wash her hands after she touches poisonous objects and uses the restroom. These are important life lessons, after all!
I will continue to say “don’t” and “no” when my children face life’s more difficult problems, when we’re talking about drugs and sex instead of holding kittens and washing hands.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
Parenthood (like Christianity) is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the fearful.