Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No, No, No

I’ve noticed lately that Little Man has begun tuning me out. It isn’t that surprising, really; there is a lot going on in his world and lots of new things to explore and learn every single day. It isn’t that he tunes me out completely; it is really just when he is in trouble. I find myself saying, “Little Man, look at mommy’s face….what did mommy say?” over and over again in an effort to make sure the lesson isn’t lost on him. Today however, when I asked him that question, he replied with the most pathetic, ho-hum, Ben Stein-esque, “No, no, no” that it caught me off guard. As he ran off to play I stayed crouched down completely caught up in the moment realizing what it must be like to on his side of the conversation.

Do you have any naysayer’s in your life? I do. I am sure you can relate because we can all be naysayers at one time or another, but this particular naysayer is someone that I respect a great deal and has been a friend of mine for many years. For those reasons, I often find the naysaying particularly hurtful because I receive very little, if any, encouragement from that person. I confess that many times I don’t even want to be around my friend because I feel like no matter what I do, all I get is “no, no, no”, so to speak. It is so stifling and so spirit crushing that many times I find myself passing on the bad behavior to other people in my life as though reciprocating the negativity will somehow alleviate the way it makes me feel.

While working at the church a few months after my son was born, I stole away to the back room of the church to feed him. The director of our preschool came by and sat and talked with me while I fed my son so I took the opportunity to pick her brain about a couple of things. As our conversation neared an end and she got up to leave, I asked her one final question, “If you could give one piece of advice to every new mother, what would it be?” She smiled and sat back in the rocker next to me and said sweetly, “Say “no” as little as possible and find ways to say “yes” every single day.” At first I thought she meant don’t tell your children “no” and thought to myself “that will breed a particularly obnoxious generation of kids” but as she explained I realized she wasn’t saying you couldn’t tell your children no but that so often “no” is all that little kids hear: “Don’t touch that, Get Down, Spit that out, Be Quiet, Don’t take off your shoes,” etc. She was saying that you can teach your children how to be respectful and behave without breaking their spirit.

I thought back to that moment as I sat crouched in the playroom watching my son return to his toys after his scolding. A few minutes passed until he walked back up to me and handed me his milk (instead of throwing it on the floor as he usually does). I praised him and praised him and told him what a good boy he was for following directions and then I got down to his eye level and said, “Little Man, look at mommy’s face….what did mommy say?” He looked at me with the most confused look I’ve ever seen on his face and said, “No, no, no?” and I laughed and said, “Mommy said “Good boy!” A smile shot across his face and he said, “Good boy (gooboy), Good boy!"

Are you a naysayer or an encourager? In my experience, the naysayers can usually chalk their negativity to high levels of productivity or the thin skinned nature of the person on the receiving end but the truth is that there really is no excuse for that kind of behavior in the body of Christ. I am guilty of it, I am sure, but the truth is that we all have the capacity to be a naysayer in someone’s life whether we are aware of it or not. My question is, how can you build someone else up this week?

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Your thoughts?


Alison said...

This is a wonderful blog!! I really need this mommy advise as I truly watch my no's but needed something else and couldn't think of what else I needed to do and this is great! Thank you!!

Jim said...


You have written a very nice post! Well done...

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing--My first baby girl is two weeks old, and not quite to the "no, no, no" stage. I've read/heard so much advice from people that I tend to tune it out already, but this one is worth hanging onto. I don't want to be a parent so much as I want my kids to know they are loved, not just by me, but by God. It's scary to realize that we as parents are the picture of God that our kids will see first.

How many times have I been in a situation where somebody has given me the "don't do this," "no, no, no" to the point where I felt that's all God was saying too? He's spent the last two years getting down in my face and giving me the "what did I just say to you?" as I wait for the ball to drop, and then He offers me an "I love you. You can trust me." I have a lot to unlearn!

Thanks for your encouragement!

Mrs. Miles said...

Thank you for your encouraging word.. I do have some nay-sayers about too... and on the whole I don't let them get me down, but now and again they sneak thru...

but I'm grateful when one does get thru, because it reminds me how painful it is to be on the recieving end and how I never want to be that way to anyone.

Why don't you come visit me too, if you have the inclination? Its so nice to be part of the CWO blogring. My sites at

oh, and his sweet lil face looks soooo sad :(

Angie said...

What an excellent heartfelt blogger you are. I was actually moved and I am not easily moved. I wish you were a friend of mine. You reminded me of a very important lesson and my son will thank you!

Qtpies7 said...

This is a wonderful, wonderful post!