There is a word we have come to fear and avoid like the plague. It’s one of the most basic words in the English language, yet its proper use is becoming more and more obsolete. What is the word? It’s “No.” I believe this is a societal problem. It’s not isolated to one area, school, or socioeconomic group within our country; rather it’s become a common practice. This week I’ll discuss why “no” is disappearing and why we need to bring it back.
I believe two of the main reasons why “no” is disappearing is because of love and fear. We love our children, students, and athletes so much that we are afraid to present them with failure. I believe it’s an overprotective issue. It’s easier to say “yes” than it is to say “no.” It’s human nature to fear rejection and failure. We have developed a large portion of our society that is emotionally immature. They are not able to handle what comes with being told no. We want to protect our kids from the negative feelings that rejection brings. I get it. I am guilty of this at times with our son. It’s easier to give him something he wants (especially in public) than have a meltdown. But I know this is wrong and I try to avoid it. I remind myself that if I start a pattern now, it will be hard to break later on. It might be difficult to deal with at the moment, but kids learn and adapt. We must not coddle them when they perform poorly at school or in an activity. I think this is really the heart of the problem. We love our kids so much we want to protect them from the pain of rejection. If we truly love our kids we must be willing to let them experience heartache and pain. Then when they experience it, we can be there to guide them through it. But by avoiding the situation we are setting our kids up for failure in life.
Yes is a nice word. It has a positive connotation to it. However, saying “yes” does more harm than saying “no.” Yes brings entanglement. It brings entitlement. By saying yes, we open the door for complication and attached strings. Where do we draw the line? By always giving into the situation and to the demands of others, we foster a sense of privilege. As Jay Bilas said in his book, [amazon-product text=”Toughness” type=”text”]0451414675[/amazon-product]: “Trouble follows yes, not no.” By saying yes, we eliminate the best form of discipline, self-discipline. If we truly care about our future we need to raise kids who are self-disciplined. By avoiding rejection and failure they will never become self-disciplined. We are setting our kids up for failure by not teaching them how to deal with and overcome failure. This starts at home. We as parents must be willing to hold our kids accountable. If they get a bad grade on a test, project, or quiz it’s not the teachers fault. If their playing time is limited, it’s not always the coach’s fault. As educators we need to hold kids accountable. We are not setting them up for success in the real world by promoting or passing them along. In the working world, you can’t miss deadlines and expect to be granted extensions. If you don’t perform, you get replaced. Excuses are not accepted. Our kids will meet whatever expectations we have for them. If we set the bar low, they will aim low. Believe it or not, kids want and need discipline. They respect those who hold them accountable and provide proper discipline. Remember: trouble follows yes, not no.
What if we brought the word “no” back? What would our society look like? I believe we’d have a society with a lot more respect in it. People would stop being so entitled about everything. People would stop being coddled. We’d have a less lazy population. We would raise generations that know nothing is given, it must be earned. This famous quote sums it up perfectly, “There is no elevator to success. You must take the stairs.” If we used “no” more often, we would have generations with a strong work ethic. People would stop looking for the easy way out all the time. If we used “no” more often we’d be setting our kids up for a lifetime of success because they would know how to handle adversity. We must not be afraid of discipline. As FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We shouldn’t fear the consequences of not letting our kids, students, and athletes get what they want all the time. The majority of the time kids don’t know what’s best for them anyways. We need to let our kids hear no and be there to help them learn and overcome that adversity. That is true love.
I am not saying we have to be cold-hearted, ruthless, or without empathy. What I am saying is that we must simply hold ourselves to a higher standard. If we do, the bar will be met and our world will become a better place.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!