“Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in peace and quiet.” ~ Bill Cosby
Hey all you parent’s out there I have a question for you. How many times a day do you say the word NO? Be honest, it’s a pretty big number isn’t it? Afterall, our children need guidance and what better way to give it to them than by inundating them “No”s?
“No honey, you can’t stuff Cheerios up your nose.”
“Um please, no fluff on the dog, she doesn’t like being sticky.”
“Nope, probably not a good idea to chuck that rock at your sister’s head.”
When I began counting up my daily “No” responses recently I honestly couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t saying it.
“Mom, do you want to go on the trampoline with me?” “No.”
“Mom can I go over Kyle’s house after school?” “No.”
“Mom can you help me with this math assignment?” (Probably not. That seventh grade math is hard!) So … “No.“
“Mom, can I tie up my brother on that tree and use him for target practice with my bow?” Yeah, that would be a resounding and very appropriate use of “NO.”
I soon began to wonder, did I ever say, “Yes”? Questioning my infatuation with “No” and the effect it was having on my life, came about after catching a few minutes of the “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey and Zoey Deschanel. It sparked a memory of a long ago conversation with a British traveler in Mexico.
My friend and I had taken a much-needed “Girls Trip” to Cancun, where we spent the majority of our days lounging beachside and drinking frozen piña coladas with shots of dark rum on top. Yum! One day we ventured into one of the two pools at the resort and struck up a conversation with a scrawny Brit with thinning black hair, and eyelashes that went on forever.
He was a 20-something who had been traveling for quite a few months, and was nearing the end of his tour with a stop in Mexico and then a brief trip to Las Vegas, before heading back home to England to begin a new job.
I don’t know if he adopted us or we adopted him, but he spent the last few days of his Mexican “vacaciones” tagging along with us to dinner and the beach, and he became quite fond of our frozen concoctions.
One day on the beach we were talking about various books we had read, and this man-boy told us about a book he had recently read about a man who spent several months saying “Yes” to any opportunity he was presented with. I couldn’t help but wonder years later as I sat in my living room watching Jim Carrey buy a penis patch because a spam e-mail asked him if he wanted something bigger and he answered “Yes” with the click of the mouse, if this movie was based on the book I had wanted to read, but never did get around to reading.
A quick Google search confirmed my suspicions. “Yes Man” the movie was based on the book of the same name, by Danny Wallace. I bought the book on my Kindle a few weeks ago in between games at a basketball tournament, and I have slowly been working my way through the book, in between blogging, writing my young adult novel, “momming,” and reading Nikki Stone‘s “When Turtles Fly.”
It’s pretty crazy stuff. Mr. Wallace began his “Yes experiment” with the intentions of saying “yes” to everything for 24-hours. It began by him saying “yes” to a whole lot of spam e-mail including the penis patch, and a request by the son of a murdered sultan to help him move a whole lot of money out of his native country in return for a very large profit for Danny-boy, if only he would give the man his bank account number.
The 24-hour experiment went so well and opened Wallace up to so many new experiences that he extended his 24-hours of yes to a week, and then for an entire year
As I read about this young, single, Londoner’s days filled with evenings out with friends he couldn’t say no to, experimentation with drugs, new career opportunities presented simply because he said “Yes” I began to acknowledge that I myself could use a healthy dose of “Yes.” Not because I had a sudden urge to do drugs (I would still be “Just Saying NO” to that), but because I seemed to be missing out on a whole lot of opportunities to bond with my kids, and sooner than I would like to admit, these opportunities may not even be an option.
I began to visualize my own Yes Experiment, and what that would mean to my children, my husband, and me. It could be interesting.
My children were old enough so I wasn’t worried about them putting something poisonous in their mouths, or sticking their fingers in electrical outlets if I didn’t say “No.” And they were still young enough to so the values they had learned in DARE and from us still were ingrained deeply in their heads, so I wasn’t afraid that they would be lighting up a joint or chugging brews in the back field if I didn’t say “No.” And we were getting ready to go on a 10-day vacation so that seemed to be the perfect time to begin my own “Yes experiment,” and suck every bit of yes-induced fun out of our trip and family togetherness.
Yes, that’s what I would do. From the time reached the airport to begin our 10-day excursion in Florida and The Villages to the time we stepped on the plane that would take us home again, I would immerse my self in “Yes.” I would become the “Yes Woman,” or better yet, I would be “Yes, Mom.”
Easier said than done. Within the first 15-minutes of being at the airport I was beginning to wonder if this experiment was such a good idea.
TO BE CONTINUED ….