What I did for Day 5 of my brilliant idea was relatively easy, maybe too easy as it has been through most of my life, but today was the first time it happened with Tommy.
I said, “No.”
In this first instance of No with Tommy, I said it because he was trying to reach for his cereal bowl while I fed him. On one hand, I thrilled at his determination and coordination, his ability to reach for something he wanted. On the other hand, I said, “No,” because I didn’t want him to get cereal all over himself. Actually, I didn’t want to have to clean it up.
It made me think about the word, No, and that although it’s sometimes the easiest thing to say, it can limit us, too.
What if I had just let Tommy take that cereal bowl, dip his hands into it, let rice cereal ooze through every finger, before he painted his high chair with it, then shoved his fist in his mouth?
Might he have learned what it feels like to be an artist? Or might he have decided on his own (someday) that he doesn’t like the way sticky cereal feels all over his hands and face?
Who knows what might have been lost, maybe not so much today, but in the past, because I said, “No,” not only to myself, but to my children.
Where might Yes have taken us?
Perhaps it’s time for a flip-flop. That’s one of the joys of being a grandma. I can relax and not worry so much about having to say, “No.” I look forward to the times when I’ll get to see Tommy experience what might have been missed had I said, “No.”
WHAT I LEARNED: There’s a time for No and a time for Yes, and it shouldn’t always be determined by what’s easiest to say.
THUMBS UP OR DOWN? I give thinking about when to say, “n0” a “thumbs up.”