Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saying No

Saying no. Is it such a hard thing? I don’t have kids yet, so maybe it’s more difficult than I think, but yesterday my aunt Renee was talking about my cousin Bennett’s going to Belmont College, which is in Nashville and about 20–30 minutes away. He plans to live at home and commute but knows a friend who lives right down by the college. His idea was to live with Patrick during the week and then go home on the weekends.

Aunt Renee mentioned that she didn’t think that was allowed, because he will be a freshman and she thinks that for at least the first two years students must live either on campus or at home. The way she said it made it sound like she didn’t know for sure but was pretty certain that’s the way it was. She also mentioned she was hesitant about that just because he is an 18-year-old boy. I said, very gently (because I thought about saying it before I just blurted it out), “You could just say no.” The look on her face was priceless and conveyed two things:
  1. She hadn’t even considered saying no. After all, he’s an adult (just turned 18 two weeks ago) and should be able to make those decisions.
  2. She would never say no to him for anything.
I didn’t understand but didn’t ask any more about it. I didn’t want to make it a topic of contention especially when the grandparents (her parents) were right there. But it makes me want to know if it’s that hard for all parents to say no or if they just don’t say no. I know my parents said no to us about a lot of things. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but when I look back, I’m glad they limited what we could do. However, even though my parents said no for a few things, they also let us make our own decisions about a lot of things; they encouraged us to think about whether it was a good decision. For instance, if we wanted to see a certain movie, they’d make us read about it and decide if it contained content that we thought was acceptable for Christian girls (princesses, children of the King) to see.

If I had to guess, I’d say that my parents had already seen the movie or knew about it and so were just as informed as we were, but they let us think it over. I hope that when I have kids I can foster that kind of thought process but still have had enough influence on them when they were younger to make sure they make the right decisions. However, there are a few hurdles I have to cross before I can get there!

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