Practicing Yes

I’m thinking about two types of Yes practices. The first is in regard to parenting (or any interactions with kids). There’s great writing and photography out there about saying yes – like this post from Hobo Mama, and the Play at Home Mom “Yes” photo features.

Here were some of our own Yes moments this evening:

  • We can stay longer at the playground.
  • You can go barefoot.
  • You can eat as many plums as you want.
  • Yes, I’ll give you another underdog push on the swings.
  • You can take a lights-out bath with just a scuba flashlight.
  • You can stay in the bath as long as you want.
  • We can read more books.
  • I can tell you one more story.

I think there’s an important distinction between saying yes and being over-indulgent. Part of the distinction for me, is saying yes to intangible needs and wants, rather than just material requests. I guess it boils down to saying yes to taking the time for meaningful engagement, and I don’t believe that’s ever over-indulgent. I hope that when our kids are adults they’ll remember the underdogs on the playground and the bedtime stories, not just which Lego kits we bought.

Through the course of our evening there were definitely moments that didn’t result in yes responses. We had to wear our seat belts in the car, family peace was better maintained by sharing the plums, and my voice finally reached the story telling limit. But when the balance of the evening involves saying yes more than no, it’s not such a big deal to finally turn the lights out and say goodnight.

I’m also practicing saying yes on a personal level. I’m trying to slow down a little in my mind in order to get clear about what even warrants saying yes. I tend to be way too good at saying no to social events, so I’d like to break free of that. But in a thoughtful way, so that I’m still staying true to my own interests and values. I’m not going for the indiscriminate yes, like Jim Carey in Yes Man.

How about you? Is there anything you’ve been wanting to say yes to, that you could do this week? 




5 thoughts on “Practicing Yes

  1. I am the product of a wonderful mother. And while she was a wonderful mother, she was also Italian. Italian in the way that most Italian mothers are…relying heavily on a loud voice and wild hand gestures. But my sister and I were only subjected to the Italian side of her when there was soap on toothbrushes or plastic cups being thrown at a younger sister’s head. The rest of the time my calm and gentle mother’s parenting mantra was “why not say no”. This does not mean that she never said “no”. Or even “hell no!” What my mother would say to herself was not “yes” but was “why no.” If we would be hurting ourselves or someone else, then “no.” If it cost too much money, then “no.” If my dad had already said no, then “no”. But if there was no good reason to say “no” then she didn’t. I’ve used this same mantra myself, and I believe this has helped stike the balance between saying yes and over-indulging. Thanks for the post and reminding me to think about and thank my mom!

  2. I’ve been wanting to say yes to getting my hair cut short, and I finally went for it. Big deal for me–I have anxiety about my hair and how it frames my round face. Seems very silly and trivial, I know! But it was the first thing that popped into my mind when reading your question.

    Funny thing is last night we were reading the picture book “My No, No, No Day!” by Rebecca Patterson : )

    Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a book that comes to mind, to inspire saying “yes”–that’s a more an indulgent “yes” example–I completely agree with you about the distinction between “saying yes and being over-indulgent” This is a balance constantly on my mind, especially as the mother of one child!

  3. Pingback: Practicing Yes | The Family Lab for Inquiry and Play « inspired educationalists

  4. Pingback: What do people do all year? 13 for ’12 | The Family Lab for Inquiry and Play

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