Ah, Sundays… Thank God for giving us an example to rest on the Sabbath. We all need breaks from time to time! Being a busy dad of 5 (five) boys and working a full-time job, I take every opportunity I can to relax. And I just recently realized that I have been practicing taking a break from saying, “No.”
Let me explain…no, too long…let me sum up (thank you, Princess Bride).
Like I said, I have 5 sons. And they want a lot and ask a lot. Pretty much all, the, time. It certainly feels that way. Often it is more. They want more of this or more of that. Moderation is not really in their vocabulary. Heck, it’s still not perfected in me either. But that’s another blog post. Which will require yet another coffee. But I digress.
My wife and I tell our sons, “No” all the time. Like, NO! You can’t beat up your brother. No, you may not eat the queso. No, we don’t destroy our bedroom. No, you can’t have more chips. No, you can’t stay up to watch that movie. No, you are not allowed to…
It gets old. It sounds strict. It feels tiring.
The big deal these days with my kids is screen-time. (I can’t imagine where they get the idea that a lot of screen time is normal. Riiiiiight.) They want to play Nintendo 2DS games, computer games, tablet games, watch YouTube, surf the web, etc. I get that. I often do many of those things. I even had a Nintendo with a TV in my bedroom when I was kid.
But we have to say no, pull the reigns, all the time. Repeatedly. Redundantly. Restrictively.
My wife and I homeschool, so it’s easy for screens laying around the house to become an instant distraction to the kids’ school work. Video games easily become an obsession which can lead to an addiction. And if you grew up in the 80’s like me, then you know what you’re supposed to say to addiction or drugs. “Just say NO!”
Anyways, the point I’m trying to get to is that when you say ‘No’ so much, it feels very negative. It wearies me. I get the feeling that I’m always a “downer.” And it’s hard for my kids to be denied the thing they want. I get that. But when they hear me deny their request, they often grumble or sulk. It’s human nature. And it adds to the negativity.
Complaining because you didn’t get your way makes things worse. Even I have to work on that myself.
So on Sunday’s I’ve started practicing the art of saying, “Yes” far more often than any other day of the week. It’s a day when I get to relax the “house rules.” And it feels good! It gives both myself and my sons a break!
Sunday is when I just let my kids play their video games, watch their movies, eat extra snacks…whatever. I cut loose a bit. I free up myself. I lay down the reigns instead of pulling them in. Let’s see where this horse goes. (Keep in mind, I’ve still got spurs with my feet in the stirrups. Some control and rule enforcing does remain in effect.)
It’s a day of rest. Boundaries can be healthy. Too many boundaries may not be. The labor or burden of constantly enforcing restrictions on 5 energetic boys 6 days in a row gets laid down on the 7th day.
And for this, I am very thankful.
How do you like to rest?