It had been a long day of “no, put those away,” “don’t do that,” and “I’m not gonna say it agains.” Missing what had gone well in our 176th day of homeschooling, I grumbled to myself, “Ya’ll have shredded my last nerve.”
The next morning, my first grader looked up at me, a bowl full of Cheerios next to her, and said in all seriousness, “Mommy, which nerve is your last one?”
The rush of conviction hit me like a ton of bricks.
I realized that the petty words I thought they couldn’t hear and my day of “no’s” were a direct hit to their little hearts.
The ironic thing about my cutie, still in her pajamas, is that when I found her, she had done everything right. The box of cereal was neatly returned to the cabinet where she found it. The milk poured precisely in the circumference of her breakfast vessel. She’d followed the “if you get up before Mommy” instructions to a T.
In the book of Joshua, Aksah asks her father Caleb for something extra.
When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?” She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev [the desert], give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.
Caleb – the Israelite spy who spotted giants in the promised land and said, “Heck yeah, we can take ‘em!” – didn’t respond to his daughter in frustration. His nerves were fully intact.
The giving of two springs may not seem like a big deal, but remember – we are talking about a woman in 1400 B.C. asking for an additional gift from her father who had already given her land she wasn’t supposed to inherit – a bold and gutsy move. In his patriarchal society, Caleb had every right to say no to her.
But his father’s heart won out. He knew what she needed to survive.
He said yes to his child, and so can we.
“Yes, I treasure you over being right.”
Like Caleb, we have moments that we can insist on our need to be right, or we can speak life into our children by granting their requests. That doesn’t mean every toy, cookie or video game, but it does mean more story time, more cooking together, and less – “Here’s what you’ve done wrong all day.”
“Yes, you are worth ten springs.”
The most valuable commodity we have with our children is time, but on occasion, costly things might have to be sacrificed on their behalf. Therapies, schools, doctors, uniforms, ballet lessons, etc. can suck a bank account dry, but who needs a new car, bigger house or nicer clothes anyway? Saying no to ourselves and yes to them may prove the wisest investment of our resources.
“Yes, I desire to bless you.”
Caleb’s real gift in this double portion of life-giving water was the reminder to his daughter that his heart craved to bless her. In his reapportionment of wells, he secured entire generations would live off their promised land. Just like the first time he scoped out that landscape filled with giants, Caleb could see past the immediate and into the lives of his great, grandchildren. Look beyond today.
Saying yes is not always easy or convenient, but check yourself when the autopilot mantra of “no, no, no” plays too often. Search deep to find ways you can say yes to the ones yearning for our double portion of blessing.
Blessings and love,
For more of Denise’s work go to denisemcdowell.com