No… is the first word I teach my kids.
My youngest son was being a handful one day and I was telling him no and his older brother asked, “why do you say No so much?” Ha! Aren’t kids brutally honest?
It was a fair question and whenever my kids ask questions like this I try my best to respond as an adult would respond to another adult. I try to match his mature question with a mature answer, so I responded, “I tell him No because it’s very important that he knows when to stop.”
I went on to explain, “If we don’t teach him no now, then when he goes to run across the street, he’s not going to stop when I say no. If we don’t teach him no now, he’s not going to know not to stick his fingers in the electrical outlet. But… if we teach him no now, it could one day save his life.”
The truth is… the word No is even more powerful and relevant than that. The word no means a lot more and has a lot more value in our lives than we ever really realize.
There are three ways to understand how the word no is used. Either by being able to hear the word No and Accept it, knowing when to fight against the word No, or knowing when we should say No. These are some of the most valuable and critical pieces to our lives.
Being able to accept the word No is incredibly important. No is important when it comes to people, boundaries, and relationships. When someone tells us No, we have to have enough guts to accept that and respect that.
So many people struggle with rejection, afraid to hear no. And this usually amounts to the fact that they haven’t heard no enough. Raising boys, it’s infinitely important that they know when No means No. In today’s world, it can be life changing. Teach your boys early, when a woman says no, it means no.
The harder part of No is knowing when to fight against it. Fighting against no is when it comes to quitting, injustice, and immorality. We should always say no to quitting. Quitting easily becomes a habit and every time we say yes to quitting something, we are reinforcing that habit. The first time we start to say No to quitting, when we would have usually said yes, is life changing.
We should also say no to injustice and immorality. Peer pressure doesn’t go away as we get older, it just becomes less direct. Teach your children to be bigger and better than that and show them by example. Demonstrate no to injustice and immorality.
Finally, the most common way we say No is in our every day lives. Every single day, every choice we make, every decision, every thought, contains a no. What most people don’t realize is that in every choice they are making they are saying No to every thing else in life.
When you decide to sit on the couch and watch another episode of Netflix, you’re saying no to your fitness, your kids, your goals… When you decide to sleep in, you’re saying no to getting a head start, a no to your goals, a no to getting better.
Every choice you make is saying No to something. It’s incredibly important to understand this. Every choice you make is saying No to something. So it’s important to understand and to realize what you’re saying no to.
It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Netflix, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a beer. It means you need to understand that by saying Yes to one thing, you’re saying No to everything else. And what you really have to decide is…
What am I going to say No to today?