The Joy of “Yes”

A while back I noticed something.

I was telling my kids “no” a lot.

“Will you make pancakes for breakfast?”


“Can we go to see a movie today?”


“Can I invite friends over?”



One day I paused, and contemplated what it must be like for them hearing “no” all the time. Not having the ability to control decisions about their day, or their life. Being on the receiving end of parents’ and teachers’ permission all the time.

And I decided I would try to say “yes” more often.

Because when it came down to it, sometimes I said “no” for my own convenience. If I wasn’t up to cleaning up a mess, I said “no” to a project. If I didn’t have the energy to handle a bunch of kids, I said “no” to the sleepover. They heard me saying “no” a lot.

So I had a little talk with myself about saying “yes.” And I adopted a new mantra. “I’ll say ‘yes’ when I can.” Practical realities sometimes intervened, making “yes” impossible. But as I started saying it more often, I liked the feeling I got from being agreeable. “Yes” usually meant something fun. “Yes” usually meant making memories. “Yes” brought joy back into our day.

I started to like “yes.”

And then the strange thing happened. They started saying “yes” back.

“Please pick up your room.”


“It’s time for bed.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

And the one that causes more arguments in our house than any other, “Turn the game off.”

“I will.”

This morning on the way to school, The Caboose was feeling a little run down. He was listening to music on his iPod, getting ready for another day of sixth grade as we approached campus. Now this kid does not respond well when asked to terminate something in mid-stream. The typical response is “after this song,” or “I need to save my game.” But this morning as we pulled up to school, I told him to turn off his iPod and stow it in the seat pouch, and he said “yes.”

God, I love “yes.”


32 thoughts on “The Joy of “Yes”

  1. michelle

    I just found your blog and love it! I just started saying yes more often and you know what your are right! (I’m even saying it more enthusiastically for something I would do anyway, like mom would you walk me into school today instead of oh, ok, but we gotta hurry, a short and sweet YES, is so much more fun and positive). Thank you for keeping me on track! hugs! Michelle from

    1. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Post author

      I’m so happy to hear that! You’re right, HOW we say YES is just as important as saying it. Letting our kids say things in a positive way will reinforce the words in a lasting way.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll take a hop over to your page, too!

  2. Heather

    Really touching and clearly a good message to hear. I said no a lot too because I was always too tired or stressed from work. Now that I am not working I have to say no a lot to things that cost money but I am making a concentrated effort to say yes to everything else! Board games, baking together, getting messy projects! Love them all!

  3. theh2obaby

    Fascinating. Interpersonal dynamics are just so curious. I have a secret little New Year’s resolution to back off my No, too. Not to children ~which I don’t have, except the cat… I suppose she could use some more Yes from me, too, rather than In a Little Bit~ but to my man and my life. It’s strange how my immediate response to suggestions has slowly become “No, because…” I do •not• want to become that cranky old lady who is always negative and resistant to change. I’ll keep you posted if the world starts Yessing me back. Keep up the positive parenting!

  4. singleworkingmomswm

    Oh, this is terrific! Just last night my daughter told her best buddy that he could probably spend the night tonight since it was Friday. After dropping him home from school I told her that I probably wasn’t up for a sleepover, but he could play at our house all day Saturday. Then I remembered how I used to look forward to sleepovers with my best friend each and every Friday or Saturday night, and to the best of my recollection, my mom never said “no”. Last night, I changed my “no” mindset and told Maycee, “Yes, he can stay!” 🙂

    1. Lisha Post author

      I just hopped over! It just goes to show you how universal this philosophy is. It applies to kids of all ages. And husbands, too. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Friday Favorite: Joy of Yes! | Boy Mom Blog

  6. Boy Mom Blogger

    nnooo wwaayy!!! I can’t believe this! My curiosity is extremely peaked – I have toddlers so I’m wondering if I can get the same response – but I gotta try it. It’s the weekend anyway – so why not! I’m electing you as my Friday Favorite!

    1. Lisha Post author

      Thanks for the share! My boys are a little older, but I think kids model behavior at all ages! I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

      And by the way, those are some handsome boys you’ve got there!

    1. Lisha Post author

      You’re right. I think positive behaviors will make just about any situation better! I’m thinking of trying it on my MIL. 😉

  7. Transitioning Mom

    I love this post! I, too, often get caught up in saying “no” for no other reason than my own convenience. Today, I will say “yes”–to projects, to play, to love.
    Off to share on FB–

    1. Lisha Post author

      Thanks, TM! It’s easy for me to get caught up in “me” instead of wrapped up in my boys like I did when they were younger. Let’s face it, I’m older, and more tired. 🙂 But they deserve the best of me, not what’s left over. So “YES!”

  8. Christine

    Wow, I needed to read this today! I hadn’t thought about how the kids feel about constantly hearing no, and the control they do not have over their own life. Thank you so much for this much needed perspective, Lisha!

    1. Lisha Post author

      Thanks, Christine. It’s going to be a fun weekend of “Yes,” starting tonight! My boys (especially my Little Guy, who’s kind of misunderstood a lot) need to hear “Yes” more often. He needs to know he matters, and that what he wants and feels is important. 🙂

  9. Carol H. Rives

    Love your philosophy, Lisha! You’re right; so many times “no” is easier, but just what message does it convey besides the answer?

    I’m the mother of two teenage daughters, so I really appreciate your parenting philosophy from the sons angle. All in all, it’s not really that different when you boil it down to the basics.

    So glad that I found your site through Renee~

    1. Lisha Post author

      Yes, despite the obvious differences, boy-moms and girl-moms have more in common than not. 🙂

      I’m so excited that you stopped by from Renee’s site! When I grow up I want to use fancy word like she does (like Shizzle).


Leave a Comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s