So…I’m going to go a little ballistic here, be warned.
I am SO completely done with the “you’re not good enough” mentality we are saturated with in our society. We talk about confidence, self-improvement, we say with one side of our mouth “you are enough” but really? Is that our true belief system?
I’ve read it twice now in the last week from 2 different sources that as children we hear the word no over 150,000 times – I repeat 150,000 – by age 18 and approximately 5,000 yes’s in that same time span. I’ve also read that we’re raising a bunch of children who feel entitled and feel like the world should be handed to them quickly and easily because of our technology and the speed at which we are progressing. Really? Then why oh why is suicide the number 1 killer among North American teens?
I’m reflecting on all the situations in the past few weeks where I’ve been told myself what needs to be different, what’s not right, how I should do things better, without being told what it is I’m doing right. I have to seriously consider the insecurities I deal with on a personal level and how much of what I hear is filtered through that. However, I do believe that we are so ingrained to only report on what needs to be fixed instead of celebrating what’s right. Agreed?
Think about it. When we go to a store and the cashier is grumpy or unhelpful we report the behaviour. On the same token, when someone treats us like gold and makes us want to continue shopping at that store, does that get reported too? What about our child’s report card (or our own for that matter)? What’s our default reaction? Do we celebrate the successes or do we go through what needs to improve instead?
When our kids or staff or whoever it is that needs our permission to do something, do we say, “Not until…” or just plain, “No”? Or do we say, “Yes, when….”? In thinking about how I respond to my kids’ requests I’m mortified at myself for how I answer. I’m totally the one who says, “Not until this happens, or no because you didn’t do that.” Is it just me or do we need to give our heads a shake and start telling our left brain to start acting in agreement with our right brain when it comes to getting more yeses into our lives?
I can’t tell you how many posts I read on a daily basis that are encouraging and tell me I can do anything I want and yet I still live in a society that tells me how much I need to improve. We’re still hearing things like: you need to lose weight, you’re not happy enough, you need to pursue your dreams regardless of the cost…and if you don’t do it quick enough because you merely need to put food on the table for your kids, well then you simply don’t want it bad enough. Kind of an oxymoron and it’s the stuff that makes my head spin (like it needs any added assistance).
I go back to the whole idea that teenagers are killing themselves in record numbers. What is UP with that? We clearly need to stop and think. How are we impacting those we influence? Are we getting to more yes’s than no’s? Consider those yes/no stats. Do you really think that saying yes more is going to equal out to the no’s if you just try a little harder? I’m thinking it’s going to take a LOT more yes’s to turn this thing around to to be more balanced. I don’t mean letting people do whatever they want whenever they want. I mean being intentional in changing our default to say things like, “Sure you can go to your friend’s house once your homework is done,” or “I’d love to see you enjoy that movie once your other tasks are complete,” or “Yes you can do that… just because.” How about, “Wow your attitude is so refreshing,” to the cashier AND to their manager instead of, “Do you know how poorly I got treated today by one of your staff members?”
I want to start a YES revolution. Any takers want to join me? I really really really want your feedback on my thoughts today. Really.
Think About It
“The celebration of beauty is an invitation to ask your soul everyday, ‘mind if I join you?'” ~ Anonymous
I definitely struggle with saying something positive before blasting out something negative at my kids. My first instinct is to correct or guide as opposed to pointing out everything they did right, before they messed up. Negativity just seems to be “easier” somehow. How dumb is that?? So, yes, I’ll join in on your “yes” revolution. And hopefully, I’ll start with how I think about myself.
Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts April. I think what hit me was that 150,000 to 5,000 ratio – it certainly does prove the point that negativity is easier. YAY my first revolution-er! Now I have to create the movement!!
Nicola Ford says
I think the thing is is that it’s ok to say no to things for our kids’ benefit (like media that isn’t age appropriate or has a bad message, or inappropriate clothing and whatnot), and impose healthy boundaries that will help them to grow, but it’s also imperative to give the yeses that celebrate a child’s individuality, character, progress, etc and encourage their dreams and development as wonderful people. That combination is what fosters both a sense of security and confidence. In my opinion.
Thank you for your comments Nicola! I agree, kids need healthy boundaries and there’s definitely a line to be drawn so they aren’t ‘indulged’. It’s often how we say no that could use improvement…at least for me. If anyone knows how to build up their kids’ progress, dreams and character it’s you! I guess part of what I’m also trying to point out is the age old thing of not reinforcing what’s right enough – whether it’s with kids, at work, with a mate, in a store. So having said that, let me just say that I think you are one of the most ‘right’ things on the planet! 🙂
Oooh, I really like this! I’m doing something similar with my children right now. Not so much about the “yes” but about being present with them when they need me. Not letting my mind wander to other places 😉 It’s making a difference.
Thanks Candace! That strikes such a chord with me because I’m so easily somewhere else in my head. Thank you for that reminder! 🙂
Carmen Oulette says
Maybe the ratio of No’s to Yes’s is so great because our kids simply ask the same question over and over and over again until they get a yes. Can I have candy? NO! Can I have candy? NO! Can I have candy? NO! Can I have candy? Oh my gosh, really? It’s no wonder we tune ourselves out hehe. I do agree with you, but I wonder myself lately how much positivity is realistically TOO much for some kids. With my daughter, who I’m struggling with to be less self centered, how much should I be saying yes? Do I give her more because it could be a lack of self confidence? Or do I give her less because she’s letting it go to her head. If I give her more, is that contributing to the entitlement attitude that is partly the problem of kids commiting suicide? My son on the other hand, a totally different story. I’m struggling for answers on this because the teenage years frighten the begeebees outta me, and they are just around the corner.
I think it was more about saying yes to, “Mommy please read to me,” or “Yay you got 7 out of 10” instead of “Oh how come you missed those 3” as our first response. And most definitely NO to all the candy haha!