So often this parenting thing is a long series of no’s.
No, you can’t have dessert before dinner. (Because you need to learn healthy eating habits)
No, you can’t watch more t.v. (Because you need to learn to entertain yourself without a screen)
No, you can’t go to your friend’s house. (Because we need to spend family time together right now)
No, you can’t skip this commitment. (Because you need to learn to keep your word when you promise to do something)
No, you can’t have that new fancy thing that EVERYONE else has. (Because you need to learn the difference between wants and needs)
No, you can’t hit your sister. (Because that’s not how we solve problems – even if the person deserves it)
No, no, no.
Today, though, today I got to say yes.
My oldest really wanted a new pair of shoes – and not just any shoes, a specific BRAND of shoes. (Because apparently that’s a thing in fifth grade) When she first asked for the shoes, I could tell by her face that she knew the probable answer. She took the no with grace, although there were a few forlorn sighs when she thought I couldn’t hear her.
As a family of six on a single income budget, we’re pretty careful with our finances. Most things are put in a need or want category, and we make sure we can take care of the needs before we choose the wants that we will spend our money on. A lot of times that means the wants get delayed a while before they move up the priority list.
It’s a lifestyle choice we’ve made, and we’re ok with it – even though those forlorn sighs tend to twist our hearts every now and then.
But today, the stars aligned for my daughter. Her old shoes were looking worn, her volleyball season is imminent, there was wiggle room in the budget, and the no changed to a yes.
That yes lit her whole face up.
It lit mine up, too.
Because even though I think all of those no’s are important, even though I know they’re teaching valuable character lessons, healthy lifestyle habits and are invaluable to our kids’ long term growth, they’re not always easy (well, the hitting one is).
It’s not easy to always have to say no when your heart just wants to say yes.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.