‘Azzalea, the remote is dirty.’
‘Food goes in your mouth. The tissue box stays in your hand.’
‘Enough crying okay? Time to smile.’
How many of us hate it when our children say no to us?
“Eat your vegetables.” ‘No!’
“Go wash your hands.” ‘No!’
“Go and have your shower now.” ‘No!’
Have you ever wondered why? I see some eyebrows raising. Yup. They learn it from us. We say no way to often.
‘No you can’t go out.’
‘No you can’t eat that.’
‘No you can’t watch this.’
‘I said no.’
So I’m trying something new with Azzalea and the children that I tutor. I don’t say ‘No’. Everything that requires a ‘No’ is substituted with a negotiating statement. Of course there are times I fumble. I’m only human. But as soon as I realize I said ‘No’, I immediately rephrase.
The world out there is getting meaner, harsher and more exposed. I cannot begin to imagine what Azzalea will have to endure when she steps into the world on her own. I don’t know how much more judgmental people are going to get. How much more mean people will be. I don’t want to even think of the number of rejections she will face. The number of doors that will be shut in front of her. The number of people who will silence her. The things that will cripple her journey. The number of ‘NO’ she will hear and swallow. I worry the same for the children I tutor.
But there is one thing I know.
That for as long as I am able, I will keep their spirits up and feet moving with words that bring meaning.