Blythe is two and a half. She officially tacked up that "half" last month on the 23rd.
I feel like that half is a big deal, because I feel like it has made her have an opinion in quite a lot of the happenings around here lately.
And I feel like that half needs to hear "no" often.
The no is shaping her little heart to learn discipline and self-control, respect and patience.
The no is teaching her about boundaries and safety and dying to self.
The no is a very important thing for her to learn.
But the yes is something I need to learn more about these days.
The yes when it won't hurt anything.
The yes when I want to say no just because I'm tired.
The yes when it may mean taking 15 more minutes to get ready.
The yes when it may mean a mess.
The yes when it isn't giving in, or laying down, or giving up.
The yes when it can be yes.
I am currently reading "The Shaping of a Christian Family" by the beloved Elisabeth Elliot. It is taking awhile to get through because there is just so. much. good. stuff. happening in its pages. The other night I was reading the chapter entitled "Truth," in which she discusses trust being essential to faith. She writes, "[My parents] did not think it a good thing to explain all of their reasons and actions to us when we were small. It is an unnecessary waste of time, for one thing, for the reasoning rarely satisfies the child anyway, but more important, it makes it difficult later on for the child to accept what God says without explanation. He must learn to trust the person, to believe the word, and to let the matter rest there, even when reasons are hidden, a hard but vital lesson for the rest of his life." [pg. 115]
Why did this speak to me about saying yes?
I want my children to trust my word-- to trust me. I want them to believe that my answer is for their good. And sometimes, my no is not for their good but for mine. It is a no because I'm tired. It is a no because we're running late because of my miscalculations or squandering of time. It is a no because I just don't want to say yes at the moment. And that is not the answer or reasoning of a person you can always trust. That is the answer of a person who is selfish.
So I will continue to say no. Absolutely. I will say no over and over and over again because, like Elliot also says, "How many adults have remained willful, selfish, and immature because they were denied this essential lesson [learning to do what they ought to do instead of what they want to do] in childhood." [pg. 115]
I will say no when it is for Blythe's and Becks' benefit and not my own.
But I will say yes as much and as often as I can. Or at least I will try.
This may mean breakfast on a cold, hard kitchen floor. Or singing "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes" one more ever-loving time. Or getting out the paints. Or doing another under-doggie on the swing.
I will say yes when I can so that my daughters trust me.
So that in turn they may trust God.
I will say yes because "Bring them up means much more than merely 'allow them to grow'." [pg. 110].