Good morning, Five Minute Families. Do you have grit? No, we don’t mean gritty floors or grit in your eye. We mean the character trait of perseverance, effort, and passion for a particular goal in life. Grit is the buzzword right now. It was once “stick-to-it-ness” or even simply resilience. Whatever you call it, one way that you and your family can cultivate grit is to ‘welcome no.’ n. o.
What does ‘welcome no’ really mean for a biblical family? First, let’s read Matthew 5:37, “But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” The Bible tells us that our no should mean no, which means that no is not an evil word. Hear us, parents. No is not an evil word. Your kids might think it is, but it is not. If you want your kids to be able to accomplish their goals in life, you are going to have to use the backbone God gave you. Likewise, you have to seek God’s perspective in applying an attitude of ‘welcoming no’ in your home.
Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Just as when we pray, we can hear one of three answers back from the Lord - yes, no, or not right now, as Christ-followers, we must be in His word so that we can rightly discern the ‘no’ from the ‘not right now.’ As a five-minute family, we can honor the Lord by ‘welcoming no’ so that we stay within God’s will always.
To cultivate grit, parents, you must give yourself permission to say no. Many parents can be persuaded to change their minds, which means that the kiddos keep coming back and pushing until you change your mind. You are not teaching them perseverance by giving in. Yes, when a young lady entered the Miss USA contest seven years in a row, she was told no six times, but she came back only within the guidelines of the rules and next year’s competition. Teach your children when they may ask about something again. Talk with them at non-stressful times about how and when they should approach you to try again. Perseverance requires accepting hard no’s sometimes, and it requires coming back in the right times other times.
Five things to remember as we learn how to ‘welcome no’ as a family are:
1. Parents, we are not to exasperate our children as Colossians 3:21 says because we do not want our children to lose heart, which means we need to evaluate whether we need to say yes more often. Do not say no out of habit, frustration, or laziness. If you can say yes, then do so.
2. Have reasonable consequences when your child has not accepted no well. Think through the times your child is having the most difficulty accepting no and be proactive in preparing your child for what the rules are and what the consequences may be. And, as always, make sure that your consequences are age appropriate.
3. Realize that, no matter their age, when you say no, your child is facing true disappointment. Do not downplay the emotions of your children. Acknowledge the disappointment and then address the disappointments at the appropriate times and explain how your child can work through disappointments, which we will discuss more about the next time we are together.
4. Evaluate your own ability to accept a ‘no’ answer. Have your children heard you spout off about a boss that didn’t let you do something you wanted to do? Demonstration is the heart of parenting, so be mindful of your own “welcoming no’ behaviors.
5. ‘No’ allows your child to learn delayed gratification. No screens until practice is complete is one example. Delayed gratification is important for patience, self-regulation, and impulse control, all of which help to improve kiddos’ school scores, ability to handle stress, and social skills.
‘Welcoming no’ can be a win-win situation for you and your child, but you must be willing to say it. As Proverbs 22:6 points out, we are to “train up a child in the way he should go.” Note, that we are not to train them up the way WE want them to go, nor are we to train them up to go even the way THEY want to go, but we are to train them up in the way they SHOULD go. And this takes community, biblical community, where we can share God’s perspective in all things and cultivate grit through both our strengths and weaknesses.
Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We pray that God will open the eyes of your heart and show you how to begin with five minutes a day to invest in and to deepen your family relationships. Be blessed!