Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Musings #32: In the Land of No, Remember to Say Yes

feetpaintimg_1557My favorite line in one of my favorite books is:  There was no one there to tell her she couldn’t.

It’s a line from Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel.    A pretty long book for a twelve-year-old.  It certainly had the smallest print I had ever encountered at the time.    The main character, Ayla, had taught herself how to toss stones with a sling shot and began hunting predators in secret because she wasn’t supposed to be touching a weapon much less hunting at all.   A very dangerous encounter with a larger predator planted the idea in her head that she needed to learn to toss two stones in rapid succession in case she missed the first shot.    It never occurred to her that learning to use the sling was hard, but learning to throw two stones most certainly impossible.   She did it because no one was there to advise so.

It wasn’t until I wandered into my late thirties and entered my forties that I began to see that we live in a land of no.   No, you can’t wear white after labor day.  No, don’t mismatch your socks.   No, don’t mix patterns.    No, don’t put mayonnaise on your french fries.   No, you can’t do that.     And we say no a lot to children without realizing how often we are saying it, and then we are surprised when “no” is among their first words.

Saying yes in a land of do nots, can be a difficult habit to form.    It can be even harder to let go of old habits and rules we’ve held onto without knowing why they exist or why we continue to do them.     It can take years to sort through the lot and discard things you do absentmindedly, and it can be surprisingly hard to let others go.    And when you get called for the hundredth time to play a game you have no interest in while you are in the middle of the perpetual toilet cleaning task, you can’t help but growl, “No!”

Yet, there are opportunities where we can say yes.    Yes, you can go sledding in the backyard in the dark.  Yes, go to bed without changing into pajamas.   Yes, end a sentence with a preposition if you want to!  What are you afraid of?  Yes, paint with your feet.    Yes, make mud pies.    Yes, eat dessert first.    Yes, run out in the rain with no rain gear.   Yes, dive into the twelve-foot end of the pool even though I can’t join you and your only hope is the lifeguard — I know you can do it!

I want my children to have a moment in their lives that sticks out for them and tells them that impossible doesn’t mean you can’t try, it just means that you might not succeed right away.   I want them to be able to tell themselves, yes (and save the no for the stuff that counts)!    And, most of all I don’t want myself to tell me I can’t do something anymore because it is really starting to piss me off.

 

 

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36 comments on “Musings #32: In the Land of No, Remember to Say Yes

  1. tunisiajolyn84
    January 5, 2016

    In the spirit of this post, I am going to say yes to this post! I appreciate the message and I hope it resonates with a lot of people and makes them begin the process of shifting their no to a yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 5, 2016

      Thank you for your comment! I hope you have a few yes moments today 🙂

      Like

  2. jdawgswords
    January 5, 2016

    I’m with you!!! Look at male clothing…notice how drab and boring? I wander enviously through the kiddie clothing department..look at sparkily stuff!!! The bright colors…and seldom eat ketchup…its sour cream or plain…

    Like

    • Laissez Faire
      January 5, 2016

      If I want to buy my son a sparkly shirt, or something with stars, or anything other than a sports or truck motif, I have to find the gender ambiguous lines of clothing, or the girl’s department. Drives me insane. Does no one remember the 70s when men rocked the loud, colorful prints, pink, and lavender!? 🙂 I like to dip my fries in honey mustard the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jdawgswords
        January 5, 2016

        I was a kid in the 70s…my favorite color is pink…look online for native American and African clothing…you might find something exciting

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Tara@LittleHomeKitchen
    January 5, 2016

    Yes!!! I agree wholeheartedly! (Except for sledding in the dark – all our hills end in fences or rocks…)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mrsclark6
    January 6, 2016

    I try this attempt at parenting. Sometimes I have to say no (No, you cannot climb on the dining room table, No you cannot have a fourth cookie…) but parenting is so much more fun when you can say yes to things (sure, eat your lunch in the living room today. ) Love this post!

    Like

  5. ellenbehm
    January 7, 2016

    This certainly resonates with me. In the last year or so I have (finally) made up my mind to try to say “yes” before I say “no” when in the past it was the other way around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 7, 2016

      One day at a time! I said yes to myself more than usual this week. 🙂 I did have to tell my kids no to the 20th book though…but the guesses won by a mile. Lol

      Like

  6. Jennifer G. Knoblock
    January 7, 2016

    No, you can’t have an amazing post on every grid this week. Oh, wait, you did. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucy
    January 7, 2016

    I try to say “yes” as often as possible and try to re-word any “no’s” but, low and behold, my daughter still loves the word “no”! 🙈 It’s difficult because, as you say, it’s so prevalent in our society, I think she had maybe picked it up more from other people. Anyway, she has the freedom from me and I guess that’s what matters, in the end! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 7, 2016

      I think awareness is what’s most important. We will sometimes say no, but yes will be there on the table rather than it never being an option.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lucy
    January 7, 2016

    Have scheduled this to be posted on my page tomorrow. Hope you don’t mind! 😊 X

    https://www.facebook.com/mayaandthemoon/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Meg
    January 7, 2016

    I also wrote a post about the Yes train recently! I’m on it with you. I loved the placement of this particular phrase: “I know you can do it!” It brought everything home. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 8, 2016

      I love it when my primate spawn do something that I can’t 🙂

      Like

  10. c2avilez
    January 7, 2016

    When I got to your yes moments, I had to smile. Moments like those are wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 8, 2016

      I think maybe that’s why I like Halloween so much, more people just say yes to doing something silly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • c2avilez
        January 8, 2016

        I’m so grateful to have had a mom who valued our creativity more than a neat house. She said no plenty of times for other things, but always yes to painting and building forts and puppet show theaters, even when it meant a lot of work for her in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laissez Faire
        January 8, 2016

        Children are messy and gross (really, can’t a mom sit on a clean toilet?). LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      • c2avilez
        January 8, 2016

        Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

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  12. dvaal
    January 12, 2016

    I love Jean M. Auel and her whole series. We all need to fly. I am the same with my children -learning to live, rather than stand still, or fall -only way to grow.
    http://www.fiddledeedeebooks.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 13, 2016

      I pretty much pretend that last book doesn’t exist and Ayla remains in high regard 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • dvaal
        January 13, 2016

        I confess -I didn’t finish the last book. I own it -just couldn’t get through it. If something bad happens -don’t tell me. It would be to sad. She is the spirit of who I’ve always wanted to be. She must continue to live!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laissez Faire
        January 13, 2016

        No nothing bad happened. The book is just drivel. Shelters of Stone can even be skipped if I am being honest 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. jacquelineobyikocha
    January 12, 2016

    Brilliant post. Impossible can also read I’m possible 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Lori Carlson
    January 12, 2016

    Great post! This is also my year to say “Yes” to things I’ve thought impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      January 13, 2016

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed 🙂 Cheers to a year of guesses! I hope to you come back and read more!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: What’s Up Doc #9: Reigning In The New Year | Laissez Faire

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Aspiring writer, wife, mother of two, owner two cats. Teacher, lover of science, books, science fiction, fantasy, and video games.

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