There’s a somewhat modern parenting adage that states you should never actually say the word “No” to a child. Instead of no, you’re supposed to redirect their attention, or use other words to stop the child from doing whatever it is they’re doing. The theory is, if a kid keeps hearing the word NO, they will eventually tune it out and it will become meaningless. It also means that the child will look at the world as a place that can not be explored because you’re not allowed to do anything.

Ok- got the theory and thoughts behind it?

For the moment, let’s say that we all understand the concept of limiting the use of the word NO when it comes to parenting…

Can the concept itself be applied to other situations that don’t involve toddlers trying to put their fingers in a light socket?

If adults keep hearing the word “No” does it begin to lose it’s meaning?

Do we somehow want to do the things that we are told that we can’t do?

Do we resent people telling us what we can and can’t do?


Yes or No

People are often told they need to say “No” more.  Wanting to please becomes a way of life, so when asked to do something, they immediately reply “Yes”, before they’re even thought if they actually want to do it, or have time to do it.  So a movement of sorts was formed, one that gave people. especially women, the power that saying “No” was acceptable, indeed, preferable in many situations.

I do believe that everyone has the ability to say “No” to any situation, regardless of the reason.  No one should ever feel obligated to do something.


Shonda Rhimes wrote a book, “Year of Yes”, which basically detailed how saying “Yes” changed her life.  So have we gotten hasty with our use of the word “No”?

If something goes against your personal code of ethics, you need to say no.  There is no situation that should ever make you do something you believe is wrong.  If something is illegal, I’m also saying you should say no.  (People might disagree with me on this, but my feeling is that laws are carefully made.  What gives someone the power to arbitrarily disregard one that they don’t believe in?  Isn’t that anarchy?  And don’t bring up going 60 in a 55 mile zone- that’s not a good enough argument.)

If you have a full plate of work and personal commitments, should you decide to chair a banquet for school?  Well, you know how busy you are, whether or not you have the time.  But what if this is something that will actually enhance your life, bring you joy?  Shouldn’t you at least consider it?  What if your boss asks you to do a project not completely related to your roll?  What if the task brings about a great opportunity?  Shouldn’t you consider it?

As my daughter begins to really delve into what type of student colleges want, the one consistent message she’s seen is that all schools want the type of student who seizes the opportunities  that are put in front of them.  They want the kid that goes for it.  They want the kid that says “Yes”.


Because people that say yes are the ones that are actively participating in life.  They are the people that are learning by doing.  They are the people unafraid to make mistakes, the ones unafraid to fail. They are the people developing things, and leading movements and making their mark.

Yes is a powerful word.  Yes helps you reach your goals.  Yes helps your dreams become a reality.  Yes takes you where you head wants to be.  Yes takes you to where your heart wants to be.  Yes takes you to where you want to be.

Yes can also be a lot of fun.  We had a particularly warm day this week.  After a morning spent doing errands and work, I looked at my daughter and said “Do you want to get ice cream?”  Now, I’m supposed to be watching my weight, and she’s supposed to be studying everything under the sun, but sometimes when life hands you 72 degrees in the middle of February in New York, you kind of need to seize the moment. And maybe choose an ice cream shop a mile and a half away and walk both directions.  But get that strawberry rhubarb crisp in a cup and enjoy it.  Take twenty minutes out and talk to you kid about just anything.

Yes can be a wonderful word.

So before you give any answer, really consider what the question is.  Think about how yes will make you feel.  It’s actually a little bit positive versus negative now isn’t it?