Many self-help gurus talk about one of the major keys to success is being open. Open to whatever life brings your way, without forcing expectations you may have. As a bit of a control freak with anxious tendencies, I know that “being open” and “letting go” (of attachments to specific outcomes) is certainly an area I need to work on. I then began to reflect on what being open could do for me as a parent. I was reminded of my children’s favourite times of the year: the days I agree to a Yes day (based on the book, Yes Day). On these particular days, whatever my children ask, I respond with a “yes.” Ice cream for breakfast? Yes! Swimming and a movie? Yes! Give Daddy a makeover? Yes… and Yes! Always a fun day. I have no idea what they will ask for, so there are no expectations of how the day will go. We go with the flow, from one glorious childlike impulsive moment to another. The freedom is amazing. Hence came the decision to practice the power of yes with my children this past week.
This week, I wanted to do something different. Yes days are very obvious to the girls. But, I wanted to practice being open and to say yes, quietly, secretly. So, when they asked to play, I put aside my ten excuses of how it was getting close to dinner and I had to start cooking-but first I need to change the load of laundry-and then quickly check my email-oh dear! look at that mess; I need to clean it up-I am really tired, why don’t you play with each other?… and said, “Yes. I’d love to play with you.” And we did, even for just a few minutes. And we had fun. At night, when I was asked to stay an extra minute to cuddle, I said, “Yes, I love cuddling with you.” And I stayed. And cuddled. And it was lovely.
I found that my interactions with the girls changed dramatically over the course of just a few times saying yes to them. They were more talkative, animated to share their thoughts and feelings and ideas. My eldest even started to show greater affection – more kisses, more hand holding, more inching closer to me as we read side-by-side on the couch. And I felt lighter.
Unfortunately, I had the luxury last week to do say yes, without being limited by life. Getting back into the grind of things Monday, I became my old busy, stressed, overwhelmed-with-work, distracted self. And, I forgot about the power of yes. And we had a horrible night. Which immediately prompted me to write about this topic. Because I have seen the power of yes and know it works wonders. So, now comes the challenge. Using the power of yes within the parameters of the busy life we all have. Upwards and onwards… Yes!