Thursday, October 18, 2007

Several years ago my mother-in-law asked me, “So, what do you do when one boy wants to go to the park and the other one wants to make cookies, but you really don’t want to do either one because it’s almost naptime?”
“Um. I say no.”
She was so busy being Super-Grandma, the thought hadn’t crossed her mind.
She and I still chuckle at this and I often remind her as I drop the kids off for an afternoon, “Remember: you can always say no!”

As parents, we say no. (Or we should.) But we don’t like to hear it ourselves, do we? “No” is simply not the American way.

When my friends and I were in Colorado, we ate at a resteraunt in downtown Estes Park. It was a moderately nice place, and as we placed our orders, my Aussie friend asked for a bowl of soup and an elk patty “with no bun or anything.” (We were all curious to try elk.) “Can I get that?” my friend asked.
The waitress looked her in the eye and said, “No.”
It was hilarious. And yet the American in me wanted to get the manager and insist that my friend get exactly what she wanted. My British and Aussie friends simply moved on. “Oh, okay.”

When is the last time someone told you “no, you can’t have that?” Is it any wonder we walk around with a sense of entitlement, angry with God when He doesn’t do things exactly our way? Angry because we really, really want something, and He seems to be saying “No?”

12 comments:

A Musing Mom said...

My problem isn't so much with hearing "no", it's with learning to say "no". And it's still a spiritual thing, trusting that if I'm doing what God wants, I can say "no" to the things that don't fall in line with that without feeling major guilt.

meh said...

Hi Llama Momma,
enjoyed browsing through your blog by way of spaghettipie. For the record, I would have wanted to pull the manager out on the elk meat too. How spoiled am I!!

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

Oh, yes. How we forget what abundance and plenty we are in the midst of, and that we are to feel grateful not entitled.

Andrea said...

So true, llama. :)

My nephew stayed with us a week thsi summer, and evidently he was not used to hearing "no". (He is an only child. A good kid, but used to getting his way most of the time.) In a family with four children, you *have* to say "NO!" or you'll have a crazy mama!!

Llama Momma said...

AMM -- It's huge, isn't it? Learning to say no? And if we don't, we find ourselves unable to say yes to the very things God has for us.

Meh -- I was very tempted. And it wasn't just the burger, it was all kinds of things. In the end we wondered if there was a language barrier. That or she just didn't want to be bothered with all of our complicated requests!

Elaine -- thanks for stopping by! And, yes, surrounded by abundance should make us MORE grateful, and yet it doesn't somehow. We just think we deserve more.

Andrea -- I'm with you! And, you know, it's a pleasure to be with children who can handle "no." I just got back from a trip to the zoo with my three, plus two nieces. Five kids -- no problem. They were a joy! In part because they're used to being in a group and used to hearing "no," it works.

L.L. Barkat said...

The hardest "no's" are those that come when we ask for what seems best. Watching an injustice, a friend in need, and having the answer be "no", well, I admit that is painful indeed.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I have to agree with LL here - the things that "seem right" and get a no are the hardest to bear.

I guess I grew up with a lot of "nos" because I'm used to hearing it - what surprises me more is "yes", especially when it's "yes" from God - my incorrect underlying assumption is that He is like my parents were - "no" was the default answer no matter what the question.

Isn't it funny that we automaticaly drop back into whatever our default mode is at times? We go back to how we were raised, what others expect of us, times that colored our view of life...

Llama Momma said...

LL -- I agree. And I suspect my children feel the same way at times. They think no is the wrong answer. And yet...

I'm learning to trust when God's answer is "no." Often it doesn't make sense at all, and yet He has such a different perspective.

Llama Momma said...

halfmom -- So true!

Jenny from Chicago said...

Great post! My father's response (no matter the question) was ALWAYS no...then you had to formulate an argument to get a yes. It made you really prepared to jump the hurdle of a first no in life. It's actually served me very well.

Sprittibee said...

Good stuff. Sometimes God says no for a while until you start to learn the lessons He intends. ;) Some of us are slow learners and He seems to be saying NO FOREVER. ;)

Devin said...

Hello Llama Mama,
Great blog!! I'm an expert no-sayer until the mommy-guilt sets in...then I'm putty in their hands.

Devin