When I catch myself mid-morning saying, "No", for no good reason, I practice Slow Motion. I slow it down and listen to what they are asking for.
Mama, can you sit with me?
Let's play this together.
Mama, can we have another popsicle?
Mama, will you swim with us?
Mama, want to shoot hoops?
Mama, come look at our blanket fort!
Can we eat our cookies in here?
It is summertime, the season of "Yes" in the sunshine of their youth… but the winter of my age casts shadows on their joy. And it's sad, not just because the dark cloud of "No" steals joy, but it darkens the Gospel of Christ's "YES." So I slow down, and count and breath, and ask myself if I might say YES, one more time, to this too.
A mother's "No" darkens the Gospel of Christ's "Yes!"
It's easier to Say Yes, if we're willing to slow down and Live Yes. Yes to life in our home. Yes to surrendering our attention. Yes to crumbs inside the blanket fort. Yes to squeezing into the damp bathing suit you already put on as an offering today. Yes to homemade lemonade. Yes to making every meal today into a picnic in your backyard. Yes to the face paint.
Mama, would you make me The Lone Ranger?
Mama, Can we paint each other too?
um... er... yes?
It's odd to me that this Yes-Life is hard. But it is... when we blaze through it with our agenda, and need to keep it clean. But when we slow it down, to the slow motion rhythms of summertime, there is time to redirect our answers. As we redirect our Yes-Heart, we direct the hearts in our home toward the Yes-Gospel of Christ.
Caution: This is not about giving into whining, and this is not about permissive parenting... this is about relationship. This is about joining our children in their joy; joining them in the sunshine, chlorinated glory of their youth.
If I had this life to live over again
I'd run barefoot, relax a bit more.
And I'd talk with more children
and I'd learn how they laugh,
and I'd teach them how I've learned to fly.
(I'm Gonna Fly, Amy Grant)
Two night's ago I held my sick child, weary from the tummy bug. It was 10:30pm and his body was weak from vomitting. With face flushed and speech slurred he said, "There's one thing I love about being sick, Mama." "What's that?" I asked as I mopped his brow. "You sit with me and listen to me. You stay with me longer than you do when I'm well."
Yes, I do. And Yes, I don't. And Yes, I want to slow things down and sit with you today. Today when you are well and the sun is shining. Yes, today when the slow motion rhythm of summertime bids us all slow down. As Ann Voskamp encourages, "Everyday take time."
Everyday take time. Everyday take time to feel the sun and the wind and the rain and feel that you are loved -- and then let your life overflow with that love so that a thousand others feel that love. Everyday take time to live loved -- and live so others feel loved. Everyday take time. Time is there for the taking. For the unwrapping.
There are only so many summers in a life.
Run through water sprinklers and touch someone and learn how to belly laugh -- practice belly laughing every day. This is a way to practice your faith."
(Ann Voskamp, What Our Boys Need In This Economy Their Dads Work In)
Take time to say Yes today. Yes to love. Yes to the belly laugh. Yes to the crumbs. Yes to the facepaint. Yes to sprinklers and sunshine. Yes to life, today.
Enjoy this short video message from me, on the power of saying yes to our kids.