My knuckles turning white on the full grocery cart I’m pushing. Dreading the impulse buy gauntlet (aka “check-out line”). The questions WILL come. “Can I have this?” “Can I get ONE thing [they mean candy]?” I’ll be honest, I want to say yes, EVERY single time. I mean, come on… sugar tastes good.

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So here I am approaching the check-out thinking: “I’m going to say no, I’m going to say no, I’m going to say no…”  Then it happens, I respond to the first request:  “No.” Then comes the rebuttal: “PLEASE, Dad? PLEEASE?”

 

“Okay.. just one, and you don’t get it until after supper tonight.”

Now I’m thinking:Wait! What just happened?!”

Did I cave-in because…
  1. I know they like candy.. I want them to enjoy it. 
  2. We don’t have sweets on a regular basis.. sure, why not..?
  3. It’s one piece of candy. (It won’t kill them or even come close.)
  4. They were pretty good, they deserve a reward. 
  5. I’m going to give my arm and leg here in a few moments in exchange to feed my family this week. It’s not going to put a dent in the amount .. really….

 

No. It’s none of those. Deep down.. the depth of “deep down” where you think and either dismiss thoughts quickly or ponder.. I caved in because I perceived I would avoid public embarrassment – the potential tantrum in response to my “No.” There’s a whole slew of reasons why no becomes negotiable. I’m not suggesting that there is only one reason.

 

Here’s what I am processing in my own parenting:  Is your “no” negotiable?

 
“No” is not a mean answer. “No” is an answer that protects. It provides. “No” is wise. “No” teaches boundaries. “No” models authority. “No” derives respect. “No” makes “Yes” sweet.
I know for me there’s been times (embarrassed to say) that I will say no and then I’m pressed with “PLEASE, Dad?” and I cave. If you say you have never done this as a parent. You are a liar.
That you’ve done this – does not make you a bad parent.

 

Be calm and try again next time through the gauntlet.. where ever it may be remember this:  You can do it! It may take more than one time to “win” but stick to it.And next time you see a parent working hard at sticking to their “no”.. try to encourage them.
and remember: No is not a mean answer. No is an answer that protects. No provides. No is wise. No teaches boundries. No models authority. No derives respect. No makes Yes sweet.  

Written by Jason

lover of: Jesus, @legangw1, 5 sons, lyrics, family humor, and epic blanket forts. Worship Pastor: www.praisecc.org Blogger: www.atthespeedoffamily.com Songwriter: www.soundcloud.com/jgangwish