Monday, January 14, 2008

The Blessings Of Saying "No"

I say "no" a lot. I say it to my kids, I say it to myself, I say it to my kids some more. I've never been afraid to say it, although I must admit I sometimes fear the possible reaction my kids will give me. Sometimes I get, "Why not?" with a defiant chin stuck out after I say ,"No." Other times it's a plaintive and high pitched, "Pleeeeeeeeease?" And still other times it is just a grumpy huff and nasty look sent my way. But I have to admit, most of the time the reaction from my kids is a calm "Okay," like they didn't expect me to say yes anyways, but they had to at least try.

I got to thinking about this last reaction today as I left the "Explorer Store" at the DuPage Children's Museum with Zoe today. We were getting ready to leave and she asked if we could go into the store. I told her that we couldn't buy anything, and she said she knew that. So we went in and looked around a little bit. She asked if I would get her a giant bubble wand, I said, "No," and she moved onto looking at the magnetic pizza. We left and she walked right out of the store without any problem.

Her behavior (and mine) got me to thinking that my kids and lots of others are lucky to have people in their life who say "No." I do it for four main reasons.
1. Because my kids already have plenty of stuff and they don't need more
2. Because they will never learn the value of money, saving money, and earning money as well as the value of a purchase they make by saving their own money
3. Because possessions are not what makes a person truly happy
4. Because we are on a tight budget

But truly I never thought about how lucky kids are that have parents who say no to them. I know that it seems like my kids are the only ones who don't get an overpriced plastic souvenir at Disney on Ice productions. I know how my kids don't wear name brand clothing (and they're not old enough yet to really care or be aware of this yet). I know how my husband and I make choices that my kids will never know about, sacrifices that allow them to go to Catholic school, to have Christmas presents under the tree, to have birthday presents that they love, to have a mother who stays home with them. My kids have noticed that we don't go to McDonald's very much anymore, that we eat almost all of our meals at home. But, that makes going to McDonald's even more special when we do.

I know that I would rather have the life I have now, with a loving husband and hand-me-down clothes for the girls, dinner at home every night, and an anniversary dinner at Giordano's instead of some expensive restaurant over a possession filled, iPhone and big screen TV kind of life. That to me isn't nearly as fulfilling as having to say "No" sometimes.

1 comment:

Alison said...

My thought exactly Heather. We are the same way and my kids are now 12 and 8 and know the routine...they are not allowed to ask for anything or they use their own money to buy it!