Right now, sleeping in a basement bedroom, looking all cute and innocent, lies a very intense four year old. While he is asleep he is relaxed and peaceful, but when he is awake LOOK OUT WORLD! When awake, my four year old imagines himself king of our home and is completely taken aback when his subjects, Dad and Mom, tell him...wait for it..."no". It isn't always a big NO! Often there's not even an exclamation point. Often times we are just redirecting him or even telling him, "hold on just a moment." This is too much for his highness to handle. His eyes get big, he tenses his whole body and may even hit himself in the head and growl to show the intensity of his emotions. It may be too much for him to handle, but thankfully it is not too much for those who are REALLY in charge of the kingdom of home to handle.
Tim Hawkins (one of our FAVORITE comedians) does a wonderful routine on giving your kids "the gift of 'no'." When we watch him we all laugh because good comedy is good because it takes real life moments, puts them under a microscope and then lets us view them without the tension, aggravation and frustration usually present when we encounter those situations in real life. But "no" can be a gift. "No" helps to establish boundaries and reminds our little princes and princesses that they are not, in fact, masters of the universe. "No" give us an opportunity to teach our children about patience and how to handle disappointment correctly. "No" lets our children know that while we love them without limit, that love helps them to learn to limit themselves and how to avoid major issues in the future. But let us not forget "yes".
I am so guilty of being quick to say "no" and then I forget to say "yes". "No" sets limits but "yes" give hope. "Yes" is like a refreshment and a reminder that while there are boundaries, there are also opportunities. "Yes" rewards patience and the proper handling of disappointment. "Yes" reinforces the love we have for our children and helps to establish trust and an opportunity to develop discernment. "Yes" lets our kids know that while they are NOT the center of the universe, they ARE valuable and important members of the "kingdom" of home, but most importantly, the kingdom of God.
May the Lord bless us as we strive to teach our children and encourage them in His ways. And may we give our children the gift of "no" and sprinkle them with the blessings of "yes".