The Power of “No”

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no

You can see it in my dayplanner. Yes, I actually write things down in one. I know these days your supposed to sync everything to your smart phone, but I just need a big picture. I want to flip pages and write things. So I will forever keep those who make dayplanners in business. But you can see it plain as day. I am not good at saying the word “no.”

And not being able to say NO when I really need to, translates to a sprinting pace the moment I wake until the moment I go to bed. I don’t have a problem saying no to my kids. “No you can’t eat that candy” rolls off my tongue so easily. But saying no to coffee with a friend, helping friends shuttle their kids, letting my kids play another sport, hosting direct sales parties, and volunteering at church or school is hard for me. Are any of those things “no” worthy? Not in and of themselves. But does saying yes to them, keep me and my family from needed rest, downtime, and dinner together? Sometimes.

When I lay my weary head in bed at night and reflect on my day, a lot of times I find myself wishing for a slower pace. And then one evening it dawned on me. I am actually in control of the pace that is set for my family.

In doing life together, I don’t want my kids to remember dinner in the car on the way to basketball practice. I want them to think of the times we shared around the dinner table as a family, connecting, talking, even fighting! I don’t want to say yes to so many things that I forget that my kids are just that, kids, and they need some downtime. They need to come home and play outside with the dog before hitting the homework. They don’t need to run 13 errands with me because I have over committed us as a family.

I’ve slowly but surely started using the power of “no”. It has slowed the pace of my family for the better. If I tell you no, it’s not because I don’t want to nurture our friendship, or host your party, or help out. It’s because I want to protect this thing that is most important to me at this junction in my life – focusing on these short years I have with these little people and doing what I think is best for them.

I’m giving you permission to say “No”. Is it hard. Oh man is it hard. Will you and your kids miss out on some things? Yep. Will you make someone mad? Probably. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

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