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say yes

Saying Yes

 Today saying yes meant…

  
…fun at Prairie Loft…

 
…time outside…

   
…wagon rides…

 
…popsicles… 

   
…finally being brave enough to get in the kiddie pool on our own…

 
…and Mom finally saying yes to letting us sleep in the fort under our loft bed. 

“It was a lot of work, but it is worth it.” -says the six year old after pregnant mom finished crawling around in the fort to make up the bed. (It also applies to the other “yes’s” of the day, if you ask me.)

Say Yes

I think we underestimate the importance of saying yes as a parent. Certainly an important piece of open-ended parenting is saying yes. When we say yes to our kids, it teaches them how to say yes to themselves. And isn’t that what authenticity truly is? Simply saying yes to yourself.

But saying yes to kids is hard sometimes. We want to guide and correct. We want to make outrageous ideas more “realistic”. The impulse is always there to be pushing them in my version of the “right” direction.

But I’m learning more and more that sometimes there are more important things than being “right”.

Yesterday we read the book “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type”. It’s a pretty darn cute book about cows that get a hold of a typewriter and start making demands of the farmer, namely for electric blankets. Because the barn is cold. Obviously.

After we read the book, we did our book journal, which basically consists of writing the title of the book and then drawing a picture that reminds us of the story.

Lexi drew a farmer playing a drum.

“Why a drum?” I asked.

“Because a drum makes a ‘click clack’ noise, too,” she replied (like it was obvious).

My first impulse was to try to steer her in a different direction. There wasn’t a drum anywhere in the story, so that didn’t seem like an accurate depiction of the story to me.

But instead I smushed the impulse.

Because it makes sense to her. If she can give me a clear answer on how her picture helps her remember the story, who am I to tell her she should have done it differently? Associating the sound is actually kind of brilliant. Definitely outside of the box. And isn’t that something we should be supporting in our children? Thinking about things differently? After all, that’s what will change the world.

So I said yes. Yes to her drawing. Yes to her way of thinking. Yes, exactly the way she was, without me trying to change or direct or steer. Yes.

And in listening, really listening to her, I realized that she had no frame of reference for a typewriter or the sound it makes. So I called up a friend and asked if we could come check out her typewriter. More experiences. More learning. That’s what happens when you say yes.

Today we were going through our summer “school” bag and playing with crayons. “I’ve always wanted to melt crayons,” she said out of the blue.

This would be an easy place to say no. Or to say nothing.

But instead I said yes. Yes, let’s do it.

So I looked up ways to melt crayons on the Internet. And I read her what I found. The two simplest ways were either in the oven or with a blow dryer. I let her choose. She chose blow dryer.

So we peeled crayons, glued them on a canvas, and pulled out the blow dryer.

I think I had as much fun as she did. The whole thing took less than thirty minutes, but it was probably the most important thirty minutes of the day. To say yes to her idea, and to the way she wanted to do it. To teach her that her ideas matter, that they are worth pursuing, and to show her one of the ways to go about pursuing them.

Maybe we don’t need elaborate ways of telling our kids that they matter. Maybe all we need to do is say yes. Yes to their opinions. Yes to their way of thinking. Yes to their ideas. Yes to their projects. Yes to the things they want to pursue.

Yes.

May 6, 2015

 
It was a beautiful day. Fun swimming. Fun playing in the afternoon. And then to Grandmas for a slumber party. 

On the way there, she asked if she could roll her window down. I said no. And then I changed my mind.

Do you remember hanging your hand out the window when you were a kid? The wind… The freedom…

Somewhere along the line I’ve started saying “no” when I could say yes to her. Things as simple as driving with your window down on a beautiful spring evening. Even just for a few minutes. 

It’s time to get back to saying yes.