I am a firm believer in the word “no” — I affirm that right out of the gate. I have a strict, “No I will not but you that,” policy when I take the kids to the store (unless we have a prearranged agreement).

No you cannot play in the street.

No you cannot play with that sharp knife.

No you cannot stick those keys in the electrical outlet.

When kids are very young, “no” keeps them safe. It helps them live longer. I am a firm believer in no.

Our oldest, M, is four now. I still tell him no, A LOT. I’m starting to realize the “no’s” have changed though.

No I don’t want to play _________ right now.

No we can’t go to the park.

No we can’t have your buddies over.

No is safe. It’s a comfortable word. It protects my boundaries. It’s a word that I use to avoid engaging with my children.

Don’t get me wrong I think healthy boundaries are important.


With my kids, I am realizing more and more that my boundaries are selfish. I like to spend my time in the way that I want to spend it. I don’t want to spend it pretending I am a fire breathing pirate that has to save the princess from a mutant penguin… Or something like that.

I can’t remember a single time one of the “no’s” I have given to my children ended up leading to great memories.

But the word “yes” that’s a dangerous word…

Saying yes has led me to memories I treasure. M and I have imagined most everything there is to imagine. We’ve saved countless lives. Explored endless places. We’ve had fun.

I fear, someday, the tables will turn and our kids will be the ones saying no to us. I have this hunch, if we say yes as much as possible when our kids are young they will be more apt to say yes to us once they are grown.

No is easy. Yes is hard. It’s worth it.

IMG 2183N-… Yes, I’d love to build a train track with you.

A lot of my thoughts about “yes” come from a conversation I remember having with our Pastor of Equipping Brian well before I had kids of my own. Talking about parenting with the next generation is a worthwhile endeavor. Grateful Brian shared his heart with me.