Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's OK to Say "No"

I was the guest speaker yesterday morning at First Presbyterian Day School's mother/daughter breakfast. I always enjoy doing those kind of events because it gives me a chance to think of how I'll be when my own girls will be old enough to participate in something like that. I told the moms that it is "ok" to say no to their daughters and the many times I was told "no" when I was growing up.

I remember when I was in high school, pagers were all the rage. Everyone had one, except me. I don't know what the big deal was with a pager, but I just wanted one. So I went to my daddy and made my plea. "I need a pager so if you ever need to find me, you'll know how to get in touch with me," I explained. Daddy looked at me matter-of-factly and said, "If you're where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there, I'll know exactly how to find you!" End of discussion. I remember begging for cable so we could get MTV and VH1, after all, my other friends had it. Surely, we were the only ones in Marks, Mississippi who didn't have cable! The answer was "no". All of my classmates had a car when they turned 15. Where was mine? "When you start making a car payment every month and also paying for the insurance, you can buy yourself a car," said daddy. That never happened. And I just HAD to have a telephone and television in my room. You know, "so I won't bother you and momma at night when I'm on the phone or if I want to watch a different tv show that what ya'll are watching," I told them. "You'll be studying at night so there is no need to talk on the phone or watch tv in your room," daddy said. Boy, was I mistreated or what?!

I was surprised at the number of mothers who came up to me afterwards and told me how hard it is to raise children these days and tell them "no" because all of their friends' parents are basically giving them anything they want. One mom said, "I feel guilty; like I'm not being a good parent because we don't live like that."

The Bible says although we live in the world, we are not of this world. Matthew 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world." When we get to heaven, God will hold us accountable for how we raised our kids, not how we raised someone else's kids. In saying no to our children, setting boundaries and holding fast our values and morals, we are being a light in the world. Verse 16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." I want people to look at my children and praise God for the choices they make in their lives and how they exhibit God's love to others. And yes, that's probably going to mean that we have to tell them "no".......ALOT!

1 comment:

JennyJo said...

Barbie, I too was raised with the word NO as a household name at my house. Pretty much the same way you were with the pager, TV, phone and car.

I am now a mother of a 17 year old son, and even though I thought I too was mistreated, I have done the same thing with my son. He wanted a cell phone at 12 I think it was, and NO was the first thing out of my mouth. His arguement was the same, "you can find me" NOPE, if you are where you are suppose to be, I'll find ya. Well, 15 came and got his permit, then his drivers license. The agreement was he then HAD to have a phone so we could find him, or if he broke down or had an accident, however he pays his cell phone bill and he knows if it gets cut off, the tires don't pull out of the drive way. Well, my husband and I ride motorcycles, and now my son is 17 and has one as well. He is responsible for paying all his gas weather its in his truck or his bike, and he is responsible for paying his insurance on his motorcycle.

I figured, it didn't hurt anything but my pride for my parents to tell me no, and it won't hurt him either. I have to say, that we have been blessed with a very responsible son. I can only do what the bible says, and raise him in the word and that is what we try and do.