Learn to say No
Why is it that we can say ‘no’ to our kids but we can’t say ‘no’ to ourselves? When our kids want to do something we know will either affect them or the family negatively we will say, “no, sorry honey, you can’t do that today.” We need to learn to say that same phrase to ourselves! “No, sorry Belinda, you can’t do that today!”
We say ‘no’ because it isn’t the best. It isn’t the best thing for our kids to do, and it isn’t the best thing for us to do. But often we don’t listen and we crash headfirst into over-commitment and stress.
We must recognise that saying “Yes” to one thing (or person) you are saying “No” to another. We can only do so much within one moment of time.
- When I say yes to a meeting in my home, I am saying no to long dinner conversation with my family
- When I say yes to a project, I am saying no to family weekends of rest and relationship
- When I say yes to a phone call, I am saying no to finishing reading that book with my kids
- When I say yes to a late night movie, I am saying no to quality parenting the next day!
There are consequences to all our choices. We need to make our decisions wisely, considering the consequences; the effects of our choice on our little world – on myself, on my family and on our family purposes and goals.
Two character traits that I often revisit as this is a challenge to me are Thoroughness and Self-control.
- Thoroughness: Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected.*
- Self-control: Rejecting my own desires and doing what is right.*
(*definitions from Character First)
In order to say ‘no’ and keep my priorities straight, I need to know what my goals are – what is my purpose for this moment of time is. And then put aside anything that will distract me from doing that. Keeping a routine where I have designated specific times for specific responsibilities certainly help me in being aware of how I should be spending my time.
There have been seasons in my life where I am needed fully at home – my kids and all that they need take all my energy and focus. But there have been other times that I have been able to get involved in community projects (online or in real life – Christian or local community). I think it is important that mums get involved in things outside of the home at some stage as this is how they will show and teach their kids to be outward looking but we do need to wisely discern the season we are in.
We need to know what our priorities are – and we need to be able to say ‘no’ to anything that will distract us from that purpose.