Before I had my first child, I was given one of the best pieces of parenting advice I've ever received. The dispenser of such amazing wisdom was pregnant with twins-her 8th and 9th child- at the same time I was expecting my first. Needless to say she had been around the block a few times, and I had yet to even walk out of the house! What was the morsel of wisdom that altered my not-even yet-budded parenting style?
If you say no, be willing to die for it!
At the time it sounded very harsh.
After I thought about it it began to sound like advice I could take or leave. The poor woman was obviously more experienced than I with all of her children, and with that comes great wisdom- but also a touch of insanity and not just a little bit of paranoia. (I can now say this with first hand been-there-done-that experience!)
But... as with anything good, there comes a moment of true reckoning. As I became the mother of older and still older children (notice I am not the one aging here- only getting wiser!) the more this golden nugget of knowledge has become a bold thread in the fabric of my life. I weigh out my answers much more than I used to. They (the.children.) know better than to ask me something in a harried, chaotic or emotional moment. It is at those moments someone might die... and more than likely it wouldn't be me! :) (Really, I am kidding here!)
My yes's are not given lightly, but even more weighed out are the no's.
Why? Because it is so important to be consistent, and if I am going to cave, I don't want it to be over something that could have been allowed if I hadn't been so hasty. My kids are very social, active and in general trustworthy. If I can say yes to their requests I will, and they, like any selfish, "I" oriented creature, will like me more. Which if any parent will be honest is a good thing! (though I admit it is not the ultimate goal, just a nice little side benefit!)
So why weigh out the no's so heavily? Because...
1. They will push back. At least the first 78 or so times. Eventually they will learn you are not kidding !
2. If I cave once after 10 minutes of pushing, it encourages them to do it harder next time in order to shorten the time frame of their gratification delay.
3. If I don't cave, it teaches them integrity, consistency, and love in the face of adversity.
4. Because it is the example of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
While I don't have to literally die for my "no", he did. God said there shall be no sin in Heaven no matter what, and there is no one righteous enough to earn it. The Bible clearly states, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; and As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: and For the wages of sin is death; and For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
God said "no" to us wicked and vile creatures because of our nature of sin, but he was willing to die for that no- literally- to make a way to say "yes". He paid a price I could not pay.
One more reason for me that Jesus is my example in all things.