Archive for September, 2009

Why we must say ‘No!’ to our kids!

September 12, 2009

I’ve had some time to think in these last couple of weeks, have worked with a few groups of people who work hard to create a better world for themselves and those around them.  And, I’m going to just chat with you a bit today on a  thought which pops up often in my work with ‘helpers’!  This train of thought started for me when my daughter Katie wrote on her ‘Father’s Day Card’, ‘.  .  .  you taught me the importance of saying ‘No!’.  .  ‘.

First of all when we care for our children we say ‘No!’ to let them know we care.  Saying these things to children communicates an important message and you’ll be able to see what it is immediately:

-“I don’t care where you’ll be tonight.”

-“I don’t care who you’ll be with tonight.”

-“I don’t care what time you come home tonight.”

-“I don’t care how you dress tonight.”

-” I don’t care what words you choose to express yourself.”

Sure!! The message is contained in those first three words (four if you think of ‘don’t’ as two words!)  Is that the message we adults want to send to our kids, our grand kids, our students, our co-workers?  I don’t believe for one minute we want to send that message through to be repeated over and over and resulting in kids growing up with a belief that ‘ . . no one cares for me . . ‘.

And, now, the unintended consequence:  Have you thought about this?  When we tell our kids ‘No!’, we teach them that when they are confronted with some of life’s most awful and unimaginable circumstances, they have our permission to say, “No!”  Growing up in this society our kids may be tempted to ‘join the crowd’ even if the ‘crowd’ is a gang or a cult – the invitations to belong are strong and we need empowered children to be able to say, “No, thank you!”  In today’s world many of our kids see examples of drug mis-use and abuse and may receive the invitation to ‘ . . try it, you won’t be unhappy again. . ‘.  Lucky are the children who have learned early on that it’s OK to say “No, thank you!”  Every television channel today shows scenes of sexual freedom – even the basic NBC, CBS, and ABC yield to showing much that leads our kids into the belief that ‘free sex’ and ‘hooking up’ and dressing in sexually explicit clothing is the norm, and the cable channels – – well, what can I say???  These are powerfully influential forces on our kids and are accompanied by friends inviting our kids into some behaviors which one day were thought to be inappropriate at a very young age.  Thanks be to God that there are some parents who believe that our children in the face of these influences can say, “No, thank you!”

Parents teach much by their examples to children and in these areas where children have to decide important issues in the absence of the influence of parents. Won’t you rest more easily if you’ve armed your children with the knowledge and confidence that they can say, “No, thank you!”?